Science: The Year in Technology 2

Society | January 3, 2003, Friday // 00:00

Over 2002, the race to build the world's most powerful scientific supercomputer gained momentum. In April, Japan's Earth Simulator at the Marine Science and Technology Center in Kanagawa was crowned as the new supercomputing world champion when tests proved it capable of over 35 trillion "floating point" mathematical calculations per second. Not to be outdone, long time champion IBM announced plans in November to deliver two even more powerful machines over the next three years. 2002 also saw the first match between a world chess champion and the world's leading computer player since another IBM computer, Deep Blue, defeated Gary Kasparov in a controversial match held in 1997. In October, the current world champion Vladimir Kramnik took on Deep Fritz, the reigning computer champion in a contest worth a million dollars. Kramnik took an early lead by exploiting the weaknesses his computer opponent, only to draw with Deep Fritz in the end. The nail biting match was only decided in the very final game. One of the more bizarre and controversial technological breakthroughs of the last year involved harnessing a different kind of non-human intelligence. In May a team at the State University of New York implanted radio-controlled electrodes in rat's brains to create the world's first radio-controlled automation.

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