Singaporean Credits Secondary and JC Math In Helping Build Supercomputer Sent To Space

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Dr Goh Eng Lim used Singaporean textbooks to configure Supercomputer Spacebourne

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Silicon Graphics International, Dr Goh Eng Lim has credited his pre-university mathematics classes for helping him literally launch the world’s most powerful supercomputer into space.

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On 14 Aug, Dr Goh and his team sent a prototype supercomputer named Spacebourne into space via the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It is due to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on 16 Aug. 

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Dr Goh’s Spacebourne is a prototype supercomputer that is cheaper to make.

Typically, supercomputers that are sent into space have to be radiation hardened, an expensive process which takes years.

The hardening process is so long that by the time it is completed, a newer supercomputer would have made its entrance into the market.

In order to eliminate these limiting factors, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise executive Dr Goh led a team to develop Spacebourne.

Spacebourne has a ‘self-healing’ trait which would save NASA money spent on hardening computers. In addition to cost savings, a ‘self-healing’ supercomputer would also boast the latest specifications since it does not have to undergo the hardening process.

Dr Goh and his team have sent their prototype into space to test whether the supercomputer would be able to withstand the harsh conditions of space.

Back To Basics

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, Dr Goh shared that the calculus syllabus in Singapore’s education system, particularly partial differential equation, helped him in his work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

While Dr Goh has a first-class degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD in parallel architectures and computer graphics, he revealed that he went back to the basics to “double-check on [his]calculations”.

With the cost of making and sending computers to space easily exceeding hundred millions of dollars, there is no room for calculation errors.

Partial What?

For most of that struggled with mathematics in school, we were probably told that differentiation isn’t exactly rocket science. Well, in this case it certainly is.

If you were left scratching your head over what partial differentiation is, fret not, because the MustShareNews team were equally lost as well.

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While most of us who have left school would have forgotten most of the content that we have studied, Dr Goh’s admission serves as a reminder that it pays to concentrate in classes and lectures.

Dr Goh’s reliance on pre-university Mathematics could not have come at a better time with the GCE O and A levels due to commence in the upcoming months.

For those that are struggling to comprehend the need to study, here is a timely reminder of the importance of doing so.

Featured images from Photobucket and SpaceX.

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