Your Window Into Los Alamos National Laboratory
The earth is under constant assault by cosmic radiation. This radiation includes high-energy neutrons that affect computer electronics and can cause data corruption. You don't typically see this on personal computers because of protections built into them and they are—physically—small targets. Compare that to supercomputers that are made up of densely packed circuits large enough to cover a football field to a height of seven feet. This activity depicts computer memory, how it stores its ones and zeros, and how a neutron bouncing through the memory could cause information corruption. Nathan DeBardeleben, with the High Performance Computing Design group, also illustrates the ways the high-performance computing community detects and corrects errors at the bleeding edge of massive and critical computation.
Even though the United States signed the Treaty of the Meter in 1875, we continue to use two sets of measurement units side by side, leading to wasted time and medical errors—among other issues. Stop by and learn from Linda Anderman, with the Lab's Bradbury Science Museum, about the advantages of the metric system. There are scales both old and new to play with and an opportunity to consider if our current path really "measures up."
11:00 AM Scientist Spotlight-Computer reliability and the metric system @ Bradbury Science Museum
5:30 PM Science on Tap: What travels at 84% the speed of light and is used by researchers at Los Alamos? @ UnQuarked
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The Bradbury Science Museum Association supports and inspires learners of all ages in Northern New Mexico and beyond through STEM Education