Shape-changing robots that adapt to their environments

When danger approaches, the Moroccan flic-flac spider takes the shape of a ball and rolls away to safety. Just as the trick of shape-shifting to one's environment has proved invaluable for many creatures, Yale researchers ...


This 'squidbot' jets around and takes pics of coral and fish

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body. It can also ...

Computer Sciences

Algorithm quickly simulates a roll of loaded dice

The fast and efficient generation of random numbers has long been an important challenge. For centuries, games of chance have relied on the roll of a die, the flip of a coin, or the shuffling of cards to bring some randomness ...

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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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