New fire-simulating tool could improve in-flight fire safety

Some of the most dangerous fires are the ones you don't see coming. That goes not only for fires in buildings but for those kilometers off the ground, aboard commercial airliners. Many aircraft have systems to detect fires ...

Machine learning & AI

The complexity of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, makes us look better in selfies, obediently tells us the weather when we ask Alexa for it, and rolls out self-drive cars. It is the technology that enables machines to learn from experience ...

Machine learning & AI

Building machines that better understand human goals 

In a classic experiment on human social intelligence by psychologists Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello, an 18-month old toddler watches a man carry a stack of books towards an unopened cabinet. When the man reaches the ...

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Computer simulation

A computer simulation, a computer model or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system. Computer simulations have become a useful part of mathematical modeling of many natural systems in physics (computational physics), chemistry and biology, human systems in economics, psychology, and social science and in the process of engineering new technology, to gain insight into the operation of those systems, or to observe their behavior.

Computer simulations vary from computer programs that run a few minutes, to network-based groups of computers running for hours, to ongoing simulations that run for days. The scale of events being simulated by computer simulations has far exceeded anything possible (or perhaps even imaginable) using the traditional paper-and-pencil mathematical modeling: over 10 years ago, a desert-battle simulation, of one force invading another, involved the modeling of 66,239 tanks, trucks and other vehicles on simulated terrain around Kuwait, using multiple supercomputers in the DoD High Performance Computer Modernization Program; a 1-billion-atom model of material deformation (2002); a 2.64-million-atom model of the complex maker of protein in all organisms, a ribosome, in 2005; and the Blue Brain project at EPFL (Switzerland), began in May 2005, to create the first computer simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level.

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