Today is UN World Water Day – a day for water and for sustainable development.
This year, World Water Day focuses on the following ideas: water is health; water is nature; water is urbanisation; water is industry; water is energy; water is food; and water is equality. But I want to add something to this list: water is chemical engineering.
The importance of water is often overlooked. Water is not only essential for life but it is of key importance in chemical engineering too.
In the past, I have discussed the relationship between water and food, water and energy and the water-energy-food nexus, and I can’t stress enough the importance of these interdependencies.
Today, however, I thought I’d focus on the more light-hearted work of the chemical engineers at the University of Minnesota, US, who are working to understand the impact of raindrops.
Continue reading The impact of water (Day 299)
High specification personal computers mean that most of us can perform our jobs sat at home, work or even on the road.
But processing and modelling large amounts of data to help our understanding of complex and mammoth tasks like the formation of the universe, predicting weather patterns, or large and complex engineering problems require more than the average desktop computer.
Hence, the growth of supercomputers in recent times. But they don’t come cheap.
Later this year the UK’s Met Office £97 million (US$ 146 million) supercomputer will come online.
Eventually, its processing power will be 16 petaflops – meaning it can perform 16 quadrillion calculations every second.
The “Cray XC40” machine will have 480,000 central processing units or CPUs, which is 12 times as many as the current Met Office supercomputer, made by IBM.
At 140 tonnes, it will also be three times heavier – more a ‘floortop’ than a desktop.
Continue reading Supercomputing our energy (Day 261)