ISR 2014b Supercomputers Make Discoveries That Scientists Can’t

In light of our discussion about the pace of new data and knowledge, read the New Scientist article below and then comment (in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below) on whether you think having computers search through data like this is a good thing or a bad thing and why.  In your post, you should also write one thing you think the idea behind this technology could be used for beyond the medical/health field.  What else could someone do with this type of analysis of data sets for good or evil?

You must also reply to at least one other post with a thoughtful comment on that person’s post.  For your posts, just put your first name, the first initial of your last name, and your email so I know you did it.

Supercomputers make discoveries that scientists can’t – tech – 27 August 2014 – New Scientist.

Due: Monday, 1/26/15 by 11:59:59pm

66 thoughts on “ISR 2014b Supercomputers Make Discoveries That Scientists Can’t

  1. i feel that using supercomputers to search through scientific data and research is a great idea because instead of having to spend hours sitting at a desk doing research now scientists can just use a supercomputer to find exactly what they need searching through thousands of reports to speed up the process of finding and combining information to come to a conclusion

  2. Also i think that the supercomputers searching capabilitys could be applied to more thatn just the medical/health fields such as helping the FBI to search through criminal records and case reports faster in order to speed up the conviction and arresting process

    • Luke I agree with you about the searching records. That is probably the best answer to the question.

  3. Having computers do work for us is a fabulous idea! This will make analyzing the data we already have much easier and get us better results. Having computers do our work will also make it much quicker and give us more time to do other things. As a human being we have the tendency to not be very thorough( at least not as much as a computer). It doesn’t matter how hard you try, there will always be a point in time where you are not as thorough as the computer. I agree with Luke that the computers could search records. The computers could also search for the main ideas of a book that you don’t feel like reading but still want to know about.

    • Cheritesh I agree with you that having supercomputers search through records for is much more efficient and much faster than searching through all the papers and reports by hand for hours
      and i also agree that if someone got their hands on one of these supercomputers it could be horrible but the pros outweigh the cons

      • I agree with you and think that supercomputers will definitely speed up analysis and may catch things that we don’t

  4. If someone got this type of computer then they could use it to search other people records. That would be pretty bad because that means that you lose privacy

    • Although privacy is lost, the potential with that technology far outweighs its losses by a very large margin. The reward is greater than the risk in this situation, besides, there is a large amount of information that is not on the internet and therefore is safe from being searched. If the supercomputers in question were kept under the use of a responsible group rather than the general public, the chances of personal information being searched is much slimmer.

  5. I believe that the use of supercomputers to sort and search thru vast quantities of data is a great idea because it allows the majority of human researchers to preform new experiments rather than the majority sorting data to fine specific information. Also computers can connect information from one source to another allowing a complex web of how all information is connected where as humans could never do such a thing, let alone at the rate at which new information is being discovered. By using supercomputers, the knowledge of humans will increase at ever increasing rates with and maintaining a high efficiency.

    • I completely agree with you on the fact that the knowledge of humans will increase at faster rates than ever before.

  6. Another use for supercomputers is not to sort existing data but to design more powerful supercomputers that are faster and stronger. By using a supercomputer to design other computers, patterns can be recognized faster in how to improve and models can be simulated rather than having to be built. If supercomputers replace their creators each time a new system is created, the rate of new technology in the computers will grow at exponential rates with little human input. Given enough time, a supercomputer may be created that can expand itself and therefore may never need to create a new computer, just expand its powerful capabilities further.

    • This is a good idea Zach! This could change the way we live forever. The computer can become self sufficient and we wouldn’t need to be involved at all.

    • the problem is, if a computer gets too smart, it can turn terminator and destroy the world
      or something like that

  7. I think that using these supercomputers to sort through data is a great idea! With the supercomputer, it is now easier and more efficient to find certain pieces of data through huge amounts of data. Now scientists don’t have to waste so much time on locating data. They can focus on more important and pressing issues other than what is being worked on by the supercomputer. We can find cures to many diseases and disorders more effectively and save lives.

    • I think that using the supercomputer to advance medicine is putting it to good use, this would make finding cures faster, and possibly, cheaper.

    • I agree! Supercomputers were created for a reason so why not use them? Scientists don’t have to waste time for things when they can just rely on computers to do some work for them. Both the work of a scientist and a computer are needed for modern research on things such as cures for diseases.

  8. This supercomputer can also be used to help police and military efforts. They can use the computer to scroll through information to find a specific person or place that can be a danger to them or our country.

    • This is an awesome example of way using the super computer for good! It is a good way to keep us safe, more efficiently than we do at the present.

    • A supercomputer could also direct traffic in order to force criminals into police checkpoints.

  9. Using super computers to search through data has both pros and cons. I think that overall it is a good idea. It is much more efficient than a human ever could be. It is a good way to pick out certain data and to summarize data. By using this process we can find out more, with less human error at a faster pace. We can expand our knowledge even more and use it to help people.

  10. Another way that the super computer can be used is for marketing. We can use it to track what consumers purchase. For example, at a grocery store the computer could see who bought fruit and who also bought yogurt along with fruit. This type of information is very useful for marketing and selling techniques.

  11. I think that using super computers is a great idea. With the help of super computers going through information is a lot faster meaning cure or treatments can be found faster meaning less people suffering from sickness. Having super computers also makes things much faster meaning more information can eventually be found.

  12. Allocating the task of finding new data to computers is a good idea. This allows time to be used efficiently as people can produce more information while the computer sorts through it. As stated in the article, humans are better at generating information than analyzing it, so having a supercomputer analyze data solves that issue. However a poor attribute is that the computer can only find information that we tell it to find, so unique discoveries may pass unacknowledged. This issue can easily be solved though, like the article says, in the future, everyone can run personalized algorithms, which would probably end up in getting all the useful new data. The pros outweigh the cons of having a supercomputer analyze papers for us.

    • Arushi, I agree with you but things can go wrong with a computer so scientists still need to be aware of other things and how to fix problems so they won’t constantly rely on computers

  13. Another way to use supercomputers is in weather data. Different types of weather occur simultaneously all around the world. For a human to go through all that data to find possible natural disasters and unusual weather will take too long to avert the danger of a possible tornado. With a supercomputer going through the weather reports from satellites, we can easily find suspicious weather that could lead to something like a hurricane. In this way, supercomputers can tell us about possible weather catastrophes before they happen.

    • I agree with you and that I think using the supercomputer to help us be prepared for a tornado would be something great!

    • Using super computers to predict and scan weather is a great idea. Being able to notify the media if it detects a forming tornado or a hurricane changing course could save lives, also it could predict if we are going to have school on Tuesday.

  14. Using super computers to help scientists research is a great idea since it would decrease the chance of a mistake made by a real person as it’s quite simple to miss a word or accidentally skip it. And also as said in the article the supercomputer not only can find new information and topics, but can also detect the errors and holes in the existing research. Currently there are also other people that are working to develop more supercomputers that are capable of this or maybe more.

    • This is a great point. Humans make a lot of mistakes, and if there were less mistakes it could save a life.

    • I agree because often times people look at information and say lets keep going and exploring but they don’t alway take the time to make sure their ground work is through and correct.

      • I think this is a good idea because Humans make mistakes but not as much has a computer can make..

  15. A good way to use supercomputers from an entertainment standpoint would be to use them to calculate baseball or football averages or statistics. It could very quickly and easily interpret all the data much faster than a human can and give an accurate statistic without mistakes.

  16. I think that the supercomputers are a super good idea. They are able to eliminate common human mistakes, resulting in higher efficiency. They would be able to find and treat cancers and other diseases, like genetic diseases, which are hard to treat. This could be used for other purposes such as sorting through weather data to predict climate change.

    • I totally agree with the climate change part. Today, weather can be quite unpredictable, so being able to precisely tell when something is going to happen would be a breakthrough.

    • I agree very much with the weather part. Weather is very chaotic, and normal computers cannot process all the variables needed because there are just too many, but supercomputers can. Maybe if the weather people invested in a high-end supercomputer, we’d have a lot less false snow days.

  17. I think that using a supercomputers to quickly analyse a large number of papers is a good idea. It can read many papers much quicker than a human can. It can also analyse them more thoroughly. While a regular person looking at a paper could miss something important in a paper or miss a mistake, a supercomputer would be fully efficient in noticing everything. Using a supercomputer would save time in data analysis, and could contribute in future scientific discoveries.

  18. I believe that using computers to do all our analysis for our problems or experiments are a great thing. Since accuracy and precision are usually a must in some cases, it would be hard for a person to manually check everything without failing or finish everything in a timely matter. With a computer, we don’t have to worry about computational errors or misprints anymore. Just think of how hard accounting would be if you had to do everything by hand.

    • I agree that using a supercomputer could finish experiments in a timely matter, and I also agree that it would make accounting as easy and efficient as possible.

  19. Another way supercomputers could be used is for research projects. If someone has a project with a lot of data, a supercomputer could help organize and sort out the data. A supercomputer could also get the average of a series of numbers or plot the data into a graph. If a regular person was doing that, they might miss one data point, which could drastically mess up their research project. If a supercomputer was doing it, it would be completely free of any kind of mistake.

  20. When you are an accountant, you can use a computer to store financial data and keep everything in check without worry for error. This is why it is a good idea to use them.

  21. I think it is not a great thing because doing research is the job of the scientist. If we build computers like this, we all become lazy and won’t do anything else. If we become dependent on this and then all the computers blow up, we will get stuck.

    • I agree with you but there are some time consuming things that scientists can’t do themselves so a supercomputer can just help them a little. What if scientists have a time limit for research? For example, finding a cure to cancer. People would want the cure quickly so scientist need the extra help with supercomputers.

      • we could limit the computer’s capabilities but then it would require much more surveillance and that would be hard to do. Also, supercomputers are pretty expensive (as far as I know) and it would cost a lot of money to spend not to mention the money you would have to spend on paying all those computer geeks to do stuff with the computers.

  22. I think that having supercomputers go through data is mostly a good thing because it can help aide scientist into their studies more. But it can also be a negative because sometimes computers can invade privacy. There are a lot more ways a supercomputer can be put into use beyond the medical and health field such as statistics for certain sports events or even criminal records. Let’s just hope that supercomputers falls into good hands so it won’t be used for wrong reasons such as privacy invasion!

    • Agreed :). Supercomputers have both pros and cons, so I hope that they don’t fall into the wrong hands, although that might be inevitable. Privacy invasion would be bad.

  23. I think that utilizing supercomputers seems to be pretty beneficial to the future. It seems to have a good concept of reading papers efficiently and picking out certain information at a much faster pace than a human will ever be able to compete with. It will also be able to eliminate as much human error as possible. While it is possible that a scientist may make a mistake and miss something vital to an experiment, the supercomputer can easily isolate the piece of information and make sure that it doesn’t go unnoticed.

    • Well, computers make mistakes too, especially when you’re dealing with the level of complexity that a supercomputer has. There are so many things that can go wrong just because of one busted transistor or something like that.

    • I totally agree with you! Supercomputers create less human errors and are easier and make things faster for scientists.

      • I agree with that human errors can affect the results of research and letting computers do some of the work won’t hurt.

  24. Another use of supercomputers is for solving murders. If scientists that are helping the FBI need to find a location of some residue left on the murder weapon, then they can use supercomputers to narrow down a location in which they can find it, and thus solving the murder.

  25. I notice a lot of people are coming up with practical uses for supercomputers. The thing is, regular computers can do most of these just fine.

    • While this is true, people will also always crave for something faster. Just like how people back in the 1970’s thought that their kilobyte memory computers were enough, but ended up wanting gigabyte and terabyte computers barely 40 years later.

  26. I think that having computer search through data like this is a very good thing. They have found out so much through this one computer and there is so much more data that can be analyzed and by millions of computers. I think that if we combine all the data we have on a certain “incurable” disease like alzheimer’s for example. If we put all this information into one of the super computers it can probably find things that we missed and combine them together to help further our research and hopefully fins a cure eventually. I don’t see how this type of data analysis could be used for evil it sounds that all it is good for is combining old ideas to create new solutions so i do not believe it can be used for evil.

    • I agree, because by working together with the computers it will be much more efficient and faster to finding cures and other things. I only see the good that can come out of this.

  27. While using supercomputers is a great idea, and I would totally love to see it used more often, I feel like mostly everybody doesn’t put as much emphasis on the cons as they do for the pros.

    Consider when you start to use a tool for accomplishing a task for an extended period of time. You start to get used to it and eventually you get so used to it that, when it is taken away, you are completely lost in how to the task (assuming that you used to know another method of which to do the task).

    And that is exactly what I fear from using supercomputers: OVER-DEPENDENCE. Don’t get me wrong, I would relish in the prospect of us using these when we’re older to make things such as a cure for cancer or a navigation system for a warp drive (yes I’m looking at YOU Star Trek fans), I’m just saying that we should let the machine assist us with the work, not DO the work for us.

    • I agree, because by working together with the computers it will be much more efficient and faster to finding cures and other things. I only see the good that can come out of this.

  28. While having super computers search through work at miraculous speeds can be beneficial to scientists and their work load, in addition to shortening wait time on the results of reasearch, I can’t help but think that eventually the human counter part to this bio-mechanical process may eventually be obviated. If our technology is becoming so advanced that it can go through thousands of papers in only 2 hours, and even analyze the research for anything we missed, then I don’t think its so much a question of “if” as it is “when” we’ll hand over the task of researching itself. Not only that, but this type of technology could also be used to go through all sorts of private data. This would be things like social media, emails, phone calls, text messages, etc; all things that you consider private, to some extent. It’s already known that the CIA has been conducting this type of “research” because of Edward Snowden, who is now a renegade agent of the government (ninja), had leaked thousands of pages of information that proved it, and if he hadn’t we wouldn’t have known anything about the invasion of privacy. To get to the point, what the super computer offers might be something that only helps the morally questionable of the world. However, contrary to what I’ve been endlessly explaining, I do think that the super computers can and have been used for wonderful advances in science and could be something that leads to the savior of a lot of people, when in the right hands. So, I think that this advance in computer technology is neither a good or bad thing. I think that it’s the people who define it, but it could also take us out of the picture ( which I don’t really know if that’s bad either i just thought I would mention it). Anyway, I think rapid data analyzation could also be used to spot terror threats via key words or maybe calculate CPI or something, to reference what we’re learning in social science.

  29. I think that using a super computer to look for specific info is a great idea, its like Google searched but more focused to research papers. Using super computers to actually find answers to questions instead of just looking in previous documents is super cool and can lead to new findings that the average scientist might miss. This kind of tech has many more implications other then the medical field, for example Google could use it to improve their searches or students like me could use tech like this to solves my math homework for me. The implications for this tech is limitless.

  30. I believe that the these machine can be put to good use and in the right hands crete break throughs information simply because of the view of the computer. Within the article the author told of how the computer was able to go through many documents and research files very fast and look specifically for one thing where as humans can’t compete with the speed and peoples minds are open and is a challenge to narrow down to one small thing and then be able to anylize mistakes and discover new things and cause that’s simply too much to ask. This is where the computer come in and are the hold sole power to do these sort of things. What it ultimately comes down to is how these things are made, what they’re programmed to do, and , most importantly who controls them?

  31. This is great because we will be much faster in solving and discovering new things than ever before. With these computers we are widening human knowledge at rates that are completely amazing and I look forward to seeing what more they can do.

  32. I think this is great because we can develop and find the solutions of many world problems more efficiently. Many health concerns can be solved by using this computer technique.

  33. Also I believe that the these machine can be put to good use and in the right hands crete break throughs information simply because of the view of the computer.

  34. I think that supercomputers are tools that can help solve so many issues that we have in the present. By using supercomputers, we are able to get an answer a lot quicker because they are able to sort through so much data so fast and it takes up more time for scientists to do that alone. With the supercomputer, we could cure many diseases and possibly discover things that we never did.

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