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  05-02-2003: THE APE-NEXT PROJECT 
 COMPLETE LIST 
The microprocessor of the Ape elaborator
The microprocessor of the Ape elaborator

© Copyright 2002 INFN The use of photos is free of charge. Please request authorisation from the INFN Communication Office


A new generation of super-calculators for fundamental physics

There is a fronteer in the understanding of theoretical physics that is impossible to cross unless one uses extremely powerful calculators. This fronteer is connected with studies that look into the most intimate structure of protons and neutrons, as well as studies connected with the quest for answers to great inquiries, such as asymmetry between matter and antimatter, connected to the mystery of our Universe’s origin. This is why researchers from the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Infn) began in 1984 to design and then build three generations of extremely advanced calculators called Ape (Array Processor Experiment). The fourth generation, named Ape-Next, will appear shortly.
On February 6th at 4 p.m., professor Nicola Cabibbo, initiator of the Ape project, will go over the evolution of Ape calculators in the Aula Magna of the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, at piazzale Aldo Moro 5, Rome.

The new Ape calculator will be able to perform thousands of billions of operations a second, 10 times more than the Ape calculators from the previous generation. The secret of such a great speed lies in the ability to perform calculations in parallel: in this way only one machine can give the same result as a great number of normal calculators working simultaneously on the same problem.
In the past, Ape calculators were used especially to verify the results obtained in experiments that had been devised to study the nature of the interactions connecting quarks inside protons and neutrons. It took an Ape calculator months to carry out these analysis, at the pace of hundreds of thousands of operations a second. The new Ape will be able to confront even more complex problems, which were once unapproachable, since even with the most advanced calculators available the data analysis would have taken years. It will be particularly interesting to compare the theoretical models’ expectations with experimental data obtained in experiments on the violation of matter-antimatter symmetry. Apparently this asymmetry was generated in the first moments of our Universe’s life and it seems to have given rise to a Cosmos populated with the matter everything we know is made of.

As is often the case, Ape calculators have found application in different fields than the fundamental physics they were conceived for. Among other things, they have been used in the study of climatic phenomena and for the simulation of the behaviour of cellular membranes.



 RELATED SITES 
http://chimera.roma1.infn.it/ape.html

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