Parallel Supercomputers for Lattice Gauge Theory

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Science  18 Mar 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4846, pp. 1393-1400
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4846.1393


During the past 10 years, particle physicists have increasingly employed numerical simulation to answer fundamental theoretical questions about the properties of quarks and gluons. The enormous computer resources required by quantum chromodynamic calculations have inspired the design and construction of very powerful, highly parallel, dedicated computers optimized for this work. This article gives a brief description of the numerical structure and current status of these large-scale lattice gauge theory calculations, with emphasis on the computational demands they make. The architecture, present state, and potential of these special-purpose supercomputers is described. It is argued that a numerical solution of low energy quantum chromodynamics may well be achieved by these machines.