The scientific powers of a supercomputer from Seattle-based Cray are being put to good use figuring out how to make one of the earth’s tastiest treats even tastier. That’s right. A Cray supercomputer is being used to help scientists figure out how to make better ice cream.
According to this story over at Geek.com, scientists at the University of Edinburgh are conducting research to actually simulate the “soft matter that makes up ice cream” and to better understand the interactions among ingredients. There is a whole bunch more complex computer-type terminology reported there, too, explaining what models of supercomputers are being used and so forth. We can imagine the conversation: “Milk, sugar, vanilla? Meet the 200 cabinet Cray XT5 supercomputer using 200,000 CPUs!” It makes your grandmother’s old ice-cream maker a little sad looking, doesn’t it?
Of course, generating smoother, creamier, more delectable ice cream is hardly one of the world’s most challenging problems. The research project is part of a wider study to improve soft matter in general, like “sauces, engine lubricants, and even different paints,” all in the pursuit of understanding how mixtures mix and to make better products.
Well, if we have to suffer tastier ice cream for the sake of science, then so be it.
A neat video of the supercomputer and the research project is here: