How buying a Video Game can help with Climate Change Solutions.

Facetious ? Well, the technology that pushes around all those graphics, your 3D Video Card, is, of course based on a huge calculator. A calculator that has become very powerful because of all those game and associated hardware sales fuelling the research labs of NVidia or ATI.

Here is the micro city that is the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). A city packed with millions of good little citizens carrying out specialised duties.

( NVidia GeForce 6800 GPU. Source: GPU Gems 2, Chapter 30: The GeForce 6 Series GPU Architecture )

This technology can be used for other purposes apart from games. In part due to companies like NVidia opening up the architecture with new coding languages. Think about it. If the GPU can carry out all the calculations for a game, then it can calculate other things as well. It’s just a big calculator ! Well, somewhat specialised towards “linear equations”.

“Every serious PC gamer knows what a difference a good graphics card can make to the fun they have. But it is not just hardcore gamers who have recognised the worth of a PC graphics card. “

( Source: Graphics chips rev up research results, BBC News 24, Friday, 9 November 2007 )

You might have heard of the Seti@Home like, distributed computing projects using your Video Card for things like protein analysis. Now those specialised chips, often running many times as fast as your CPU, are being used to analyse the flow around turbine blades, in one example.

“Improvements of even 1% in fuel consumption, for jet engines, or 1% in electricity power generated, for steam or gas turbines for power generation, is highly sought after.”

( Source: Graphics chips rev up research results, BBC News 24, Friday, 9 November 2007 )

We are currently being bombarded with the desire to cut emissions, but I don’t hear much about how this will happen. Is this why some countries remain intransigent on the issue ? Instead of seeing improved technologies, improved efficiency, and the improved and MORE PROFITABLE industries that would result from the challenge of climate change, we get endless moaning about “threatened economies”. What tripe ! Look at the challenge of the Moon Shots that boosted various industries for years. With these “lateral thinking” approaches that involve the mathematics of improving engine efficiencies through using 3D Video Card technology, and other approaches, we could see massive cuts, across the board on emissions. It will take time. How long does it take for new turbine technology to come in ? I don’t know.

More so, what about things that are increasing our understanding of physics ? Again powered by huge simulations of atom smashers, physics models and other simulations. Of couse powered by those Video Cards and other computer technologies. What if there were some breakthrough in cheap fuel technology ? Electricity generating technology ? Anything could happen that might be taken up quickly.

I see this big scrap over Climate Change. Is the dust obscuring what we’re good at ? Very good at in fact. Ingenuity. Looking for the solutions to problems.

Barney

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