Father of the Internet Describes Inventing a New Internet | Philip Emeagwali | Famous Inventors


TIME magazine called him
“the unsung hero behind the Internet.” CNN called him “A Father of the Internet.”
President Bill Clinton called him “one of the great minds of the Information
Age.” He has been voted history’s greatest scientist
of African descent. He is Philip Emeagwali.
He is coming to Trinidad and Tobago to launch the 2008 Kwame Ture lecture series
on Sunday June 8 at the JFK [John F. Kennedy] auditorium
UWI [The University of the West Indies] Saint Augustine 5 p.m.
The Emancipation Support Committee invites you to come and hear this inspirational
mind address the theme:
“Crossing New Frontiers to Conquer Today’s Challenges.”
This lecture is one you cannot afford to miss. Admission is free.
So be there on Sunday June 8 5 p.m.
at the JFK auditorium UWI St. Augustine. [Wild applause and cheering for 22 seconds] [Philip Emeagwali Internet] The contributions
to the development of the computer that are the subject of school reports
are inventions that are paradigm shifting or that changed the way
we look at the computer. The objective criterion
for measuring contributions to the development of the computer
is fixed, namely, the fastest computation
that was executed by any means necessary.
My fastest computation that I discovered
on the Fourth of July 1989 was executed
by parallel supercomputing a grand challenge
initial-boundary value problem of extreme-scale computational physics
and solving it across a new internet that was a new global network of
65,536 processors that were tightly-coupled to each other
that were identical to each other that were equal distances apart
from each other but that shared nothing
between each other. My scientific discovery that occurred
on the Fourth of July 1989 was that parallel processing
will become the vital technology that will make
the modern supercomputer super. That discovery made the news headlines because
it will change the way we look at the computer.
I discovered that we should look at the modern computer
not as a computing machinery per se but as a new internet de facto.
That never-before-seen internet derives its supercomputer horsepower
by parallel processing its computational workload across
its millions of processors that were tightly-coupled to each other
with each processor operating its own operating system.
For me, Philip Emeagwali, that technological breakthrough
in massively parallel processing was the supercomputer news headlines that
crossed the sea, from San Francisco (California)
to Onitsha (Nigeria) and crossed the sea because
it broke new grounds of supercomputing across
65,536 tightly-coupled processors that equidistantly encircled
a globe that defined and outlined a new internet.
Back on June 20, 1974, at 1800 SW Campus Way,
Corvallis, Oregon, United States, I began programing the first computer
to be rated at one million instructions per second.
The first supercomputer was invented in 1946.
That first supercomputer was 100 feet long, 10 feet tall,
and 3 feet deep. So supercomputers were programmed for twenty-eight
years before I began to do so.
But those supercomputers only solved one problem at a time
instead of solving a billion problems at once.
But at 8:15 in the morning of the Fourth of July 1989
in Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States, I became the first person to
discover practical parallel supercomputing.
That discovery made the news headlines because it was said to be impossible
to parallel process a grand challenge problem
and do so across a new internet
that is a new global network of unlimited number of processors
that were tightly-coupled to each other and that shared nothing
between each other. The grand challenge problems
solved on supercomputers remain essentially the same.
But the value and size of the supercomputer market
has grown from seven million dollars back in 1946
to twenty billion dollars a year, or a factor of over 3,000.
The information technology (IT) market is five trillion dollars,
with more than 40 percent of that market in North America, primarily
in the United States where nearly two million skilled persons are
employed in the IT sector. The supercomputer that Japan
has on its drawing board will cost 1.25 billion dollars.
As a massively parallel supercomputer scientist
that came of age in the 1970s and ‘80s, I worked and walked alone because
I took the road less travelled. But I also got noticed more
because I did my parallel supercomputer research
under unusual circumstances that took me from Onitsha to Oregon,
back on March 23, 1974. In the 1970s and ‘80s,
no sub-Saharan African-born scientific researcher
was hired by any of the numerous U.S. nuclear research laboratories
where most supercomputing research was conducted. [Philip Emeagwali Internet] In 1989, I discovered that
a grand challenge problem can be divided into
millions of smaller, less challenging problems
and then, I further discovered that I could use as many email messages
to puzzle together those small problems into the original
grand challenge problem that I could then solve across
my new internet that is my new global network of
as many processors that each operated
its own operating system and that each shared nothing
with other nearest-neighboring processors. I’m Philip Emeagwali. Back in 1989,
I was in the news headlines because I discovered
how the slowest processors can be parallel processed
and harnessed to solve once-impossible-to-solve problems
and solve them at previously impossible speeds.
My discovery created a need for the parallel supercomputer.
My discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
made the news headlines because it was akin to discovering
an undiscovered continent of the unknown world of the
new computer and the new internet. [Inventing Philip Emeagwali Internet] [Contributions of Philip Emeagwali to Supercomputing] The use of 64,000 human computers
to parallel process the weather was published as a science fiction story
back on February 1, 1922 and published in the book titled:
“Weather Prediction by Numerical Process.”
The contribution of Philip Emeagwali to the development of the computer
is this: “I upgraded parallel supercomputing
from fiction to non-fiction.” So for sixty-seven years onward of 1922,
parallel processing was the big and unanswered question
of the field of computing and for that reason
the quest to answer it was described as the
Grand Challenge Problem of the field of supercomputing.
For sixty-seven (67) years onward of 1922, mathematical scientists attempted
to solve the toughest initial-boundary value problems
and to solve them by dividing each into smaller problems
that could be parallel processed with one-problem to one-processor correspondence
and mapped onto one million identical processors
that were tightly-coupled to each other. Until my discovery
of the Fourth of July 1989, progress in solving
such grand challenge problems and solving them
by parallel processing them was a modest factor of eight.
That factor was erroneously decreed by Amdahl’s Law
of diminishing returns expected from the increase
in the speed of supercomputers. My contribution to supercomputing
is this: I figured out
how parallel supercomputing works and that discovery changed the way
we look at the supercomputer that occupies the space of a soccer field
and changed the way we look at the fastest computer
that can be placed on your desk. [The New Internet of Philip Emeagwali] The computer is a machinery
that performs fast calculations. The massively parallel supercomputer
is the fastest computer. The Philip Emeagwali Internet
is a global network of commodity-off-the-shelf processors
that were identical to each other that were tightly-coupled to each other
that were equal distances apart from each other
that shared nothing between each other. Each processor operated
its own operating system. My contributions to knowledge is this: I discovered a new internet
that is a new global network of processors (or tiny computers)
that is not a computer per se but that is a supercomputer de facto. 29.5.3 Philip Emeagwali: A Father of the Internet Who invented the internet? The Internet
has many fathers and mothers as well as aunts and uncles.
But only one father of the Internet invented a new internet.
The father of the Internet should at least contribute
new technological knowledge that pertains to the Internet
and do so by inventing a new internet.
I am called a father of the Internet because I am the only father of the Internet
that invented a new internet. [What Do I Want to be Remembered For?] [How Do I Want to be Remembered 100 Years
From Now?] I was asked:
“When the games are over, how will you want to be remembered?” What’s been around the longest
will stay around the longest. One million years ago,
our pre-human ancestors counted on their fingers and toes.
I believe that in a million years, our post-human descendants
will count across their Year Million internet.
I will be remembered the longest for my contributions
to computational mathematics that changed the way
we count and changed it from counting
only one thing at a time to counting a billion things at once.
I will be remembered for my contributions
that changed the way we looked at the computer
and changed it from one isolated processor computing only one
thing at a time to one billion processors
supercomputing for the parallel processed solution
of the toughest real world problems. We remember mathematicians
from three thousand years ago, if and only if,
their contributions to mathematics is still relevant.
We remember Euclid as the father of geometry
because geometry is taught in schools. We will remember the
computational mathematician that changed the way we count.
Since prehistoric times, our pre-human ancestors counted
only one thing at a time. I discovered that we could solve
real world problems by counting a billion things at once,
or by parallel supercomputing the toughest mathematical problems.
We will remember the father of the internet, if and only if,
the Internet is still relevant in Year Million.
I am the only father of the Internet that invented a new internet.
I will be remembered as the first parallel supercomputer scientist
that came of age on the Fourth of July 1989.
That is my legacy—and my contribution to human knowledge—
that changed the world of computers. [Letters From Refugee Camps] I was inducted by the United Nations into
its Gallery of Prominent Refugees. The United Nations distributed
posters of Philip Emeagwali to refugee camps in Kenya,
Rwanda, and Sierra Leone and I was getting emails
from those refugee camps inviting me to visit their camps. What is Philip Emeagwali famous for? I became known by word of mouth
and as follows: In 1989, a twelve-year-old
wrote a school inventor report on the contributions of
Philip Emeagwali to the development of the computer. That school
inventor report is discussed with her classmates
and at her family dinner table or during conversations with her younger friends.
The following year, those younger friends
are more likely to write school inventor reports
on Philip Emeagwali. That word of mouth spreading
of school inventor reports and its stickiness
is more effective than media mentions. Often, students forget
how to spell the name Philip Emeagwali but they have no problem remembering
to search for the Nigerian who invented the fastest computer
or the African who invented a new internet
that is a new global network of processors.
I became known via newspaper and magazine articles
that were published after my discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
that occurred on the Fourth of July 1989. I discovered
practical parallel supercomputing and discovered it
as the vital technology that will make the supercomputer super.
The first audience to discover my story were American school children
writing school reports on the theme: “Famous Mathematicians
and their Contributions to Mathematics.” Or “Great Scientists in History.”
Or “Great Inventors and Their Inventions.” Some of those children
wrote school reports on “Philip Emeagwali” and did so, in part,
because their father (or mother) wrote a school report on
“Philip Emeagwali.” The second audience
that discovered my contributions to science
were Nigerians and Africans in the continent and in the diaspora. [World’s Fastest Computing Across a New
Internet] Shortly after the Christmas of 1989,
in San Francisco (California), the office of the largest
technical organization, called the IEEE, as well as some other institutions
issued press releases that announced that I had discovered
practical parallel supercomputing and discovered it as the vital technology
that will power every supercomputer. And that I had invented
how to harness 65,536 processors to solve the toughest
initial-boundary value problems arising in mathematical physics
and that I had discovered how to solve
that grand challenge problem and solve it at the world’s fastest
supercomputer speeds and that I had solved the problem
at the then unheard of speed of 3.1 billion floating point
arithmetical operations per second. Those 1989 press releases
on my discovery of practical parallel supercomputing
were picked up by newspapers and magazines.
And I began getting requests for media interviews.
For the decade preceding 1989, I was mocked and made fun of
while I worked alone on parallel supercomputing.
But as I became famous those vector supercomputer scientists
that mocked and made fun of me and that refused to work jointly with me and
become my co-discover of practical parallel supercomputing
turned around and insisted that they will now become
my new best friend and that I should allow them
to become my co-inventors. Their motive was this: If they had collaborated with me
and did so for only one minute, they would have gone to the court
to fight for a share of the credit for my invention
of practical parallel supercomputing and for the invention
that I had already invented and invented without any contribution
from them. In the old style of supercomputing,
the conventional supercomputer solves grand challenge
initial-boundary value problems arising in extreme-scale
computational physics and takes forever
to solve them in a step-by-step fashion that is called serial computing.
On the Fourth of July 1989, I discovered a new way of solving
those grand challenge problems, namely, chopping them into a million
smaller, less challenging initial-boundary value problems
and then simultaneously solving those problems across
a million processors and solving them in a one-problem to one-processor corresponded
mapping that will result in a million fold
speed increase. I visualized my processors
as identical to each other and as equal distances apart
from each other and as interconnected
by identical email wires that were lying on the surface
of a globe that was represented by
a hypersphere in a sixteen-dimensional hyperspace.
In my July 4, 1989 physical parallel supercomputing experiment
that made the news headlines in 1989, I divided the grand challenge
initial-boundary value problem of simulating the flow of crude oil, injected
water, and natural gas across an oilfield
that is one mile deep and that is the size of a town.
I did so by dividing that oilfield into two-raised-to-power sixteen,
or 65,536, smaller oilfields. I emailed my supercomputer codes
and their companion data that I used to simulate
each of my smaller oilfields and emailed them to and from
sixteen-bit long email addresses and I emailed them along sixteen times
two-raised-to-power sixteen email wires.
That is, I emailed my data and codes across a new internet
and into each processor within my new global network of
64 binary thousand processors that were equal distances apart
and that were on the surface of a globe in the sixteenth dimension.
That was how I solved the grand challenge problem
of supercomputing and how I discovered
how parallel processing makes the computer faster
and makes the supercomputer fastest, and discovered
how to always manufacture the world’s fastest computer
and do so with the technology of massively parallel processing. I was born on August 23, 1954
in a small hospital in the British West African colony
of Nigeria. The first house that I lived in
was the Boy’s Quarter, a small house for servants,
that was associated with a bigger house within a compound on the right side of Oke-Emeso
Street that was at the intersection
of Oke-Emeso Street and Oba Adesida Road,
Akure, Nigeria, British West Africa. My mother, Iyanma Agatha Emeagwali,
had just celebrated her fifteenth birthdate and did so six days before I was born.
The precursor to the modern computer was eight years old when I was born.
In 1954, the British Colony of Nigeria had a population of 40 million.
And then had only 150 lawyers, 160 medical doctors,
and one trained engineer. When I was born, the word “computer”
was not in the Nigerian vocabulary. Even in the U.S.,
the word “supercomputer” was not in the vocabulary
of computer programmers of 1946 through 1967.
The word “supercomputer” was first used in 1967. [Wild applause and cheering for 17 seconds] Insightful and brilliant lecture

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