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Cray XK6 Supercomputer Used To Simulate Ice Cream 55

An anonymous reader writes "The processing power available inside modern supercomputers isn't just able to help us better understand the universe we live in, develop better medicines, and model complex systems. Apparently it is also helping to make better ice cream. Research has been carried out at the University of Edinburgh to simulate the soft matter that makes up ice cream. More specifically, scientists are trying to understand the complex interactions occurring between the many different ingredients that make up your favorite flavor of the delicious cold stuff."
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Cray XK6 Supercomputer Used To Simulate Ice Cream

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  • by Foske ( 144771 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @04:26AM (#40788113)

    How are you supposed to simulate something when the simulation generates so much heat that the simulated object can never exist long enough to run the simulation ?

  • Android (Score:4, Funny)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @04:36AM (#40788153)

    You need a supercomputer to simulate Android 4.0 ?

    What will it take to simulate Jelly Bean

    BTW my tablet runs Honeycomb 3.2.1 OK.

    • You need a supercomputer to simulate Android 4.0 ?

      No, you need a supercomputer to simulate 1/3 of Android 4.0
      You'd probably need a beowulf cluster of them to simulate the entire sandwich

  • I'd rather have a Cray XK6 made out of ice cream. On an equally frivolous note did the Cray run Ice cream Sandwich [] ?
    • I'd rather have a Cray XK6 made out of ice cream. On an equally frivolous note did the Cray run Ice cream Sandwich [] ?

      And if they go to the App Store, are they told that they are not running a telephone?

    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

      I'd rather have a Cray XK6 made out of ice cream. On an equally frivolous note did the Cray run Ice cream Sandwich [] ?

      I'd rather have a Cray XK6 simulate a Fukashima reactor meltdown while I have real ice cream melt in my hand, than vice verse. Seriously, the myopic mindset that thinks this shit up using taxpayer money rather than political shareholders assets goes to show how far chaos theory will iterate before some level headed voters put a stop, once and for all, to this bullshit.

  • 1536 cores (Score:4, Funny)

    by BumpyCarrot ( 775949 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @05:09AM (#40788283)
    They all scream for ice cream.
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Friday July 27, 2012 @05:10AM (#40788285)

    It's not clear to me why this research will improve ice cream's shelf life. Is shelf life limited by our understanding of the relevant physics?

    Of course, I doubt that's why they're actually doing this, but it won't necessarily improve the practical side of making ice cream at all. That has been studied extensively an an empirical fashion, and we have pretty good information on how different methods and ingredients turn out. What's less clear is the reason for it, i.e. the physics behind some of the processes. That's good to learn to advance physics, but may or may not lead to practical improvements. And those practical improvements may or may not have anything to do with shelf life...

    • Re:weird inference (Score:5, Informative)

      by jpatters ( 883 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @05:30AM (#40788349)

      I'm sure the physics will be interesting, but it is much more fun to study ice cream making empirically. I've had the best luck by simplifying as much as possible. That and a teaspoon of vodka per quart of ice cream keeps it soft and scoopable no matter how long it stays in the freezer.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Quality information like this is why I still come to Slashdot. That is a suggestion I will have to try. To better understand the physics, of course.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm sure the physics will be interesting, but it is much more fun to study ice cream making empirically.

        You are obviously not a physicist or mathematician. To paraphrase Feynman, studying the physics of ice cream allows you to see the beauty of how it is constructed in addition to enjoying the obvious properties of it. Empirical studies in this case are as intellectually stimulating as watching cars driving fast and turning left.

        • by jpatters ( 883 )

          Wow, you have such insight. You should use your vast physics knowledge to build a time machine and go back in time to tell Ben and Jerry that making experimental ice cream for fun is a useless endeavor.

    • There's a lot going in when making ice cream. For example, inclusions in the ice cream (like nuts or chocolate chips, etc...) can change certain properties of the surrounding mix, salts from nuts can lower its freezing point causing heat shock around the inclusions, acids from fruits can curdle the mix, some inclusions can leech into the ice cream, changing the flavor in ways not expected. An improper mix of emulsifiers and stabilizers can mean the ice cream can separate, even when frozen. An improper wa

    • While ice cream makers have probably done lots of experimentation, simulations like this (in addition to being cool physics for other reasons) can give us new directions to look in - e.g how should we change the emulsifier used. More fundamentally, what are the controlling factors for the failure of ice cream? Since TFA is a press release, you can get a better taste for the work the Edinburgh group does from their papers - a related one is at []

      I should also pitch this group's

  • by aneroid ( 856995 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <diorena>> on Friday July 27, 2012 @05:30AM (#40788351) Homepage Journal

    ...great Ice Cream!

    Scientists do indeed have great imagination.

  • to know the high impact this study will have on the whole World!
    It's nice to have all those resources focused on making our world a better world!

    • by gewalker ( 57809 )

      Hopefully, once they master ice cream physics, they can refocus their efforts on understanding frogurt.

  • They are asking HOW does it blend?

  • New meaning to Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream?
    • Liquid nitrogen ice cream is awesome....

      However, the XK6 chillers are a lot more boring. We take room air from under the floor, run it through a cold plate, blow it through the cabinet across 12 Opterons or 6 GPU's vertically, and then go through another cold plate and exhaust it at (approximately) the same temperature it came in it.

  • I've got to wonder what they boot this supercomputer from. Because if it's optical media, then that means that somewhere there's an xk6cd. And that's got to be just a little confusing for the geeks who get to work on it.

  • Sorry, I'm not eating grey goo nanotech ice cream.

  • I'm not convinced this research will be proven out until they can simulate the effects of screaming on ice cream.
  • ... and its applications to CPU cooling.

  • After the ice cream, the supercomputer then produced a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 )

    The article doesn't say what OS the computer is running, but it has to be Linux -- presumably a distro that uses Yum.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker