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Le cerveau

23/10/2008 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

It's not often you get to meet a genius. But that's exactly what I did at the Golden Drum festival, a celebration of creativity in the New Europe that takes place every year in Slovenia. The star speaker was John Ellis, a theoretical physicist from Cern, the nuclear research organisation. He's one of the scientists studying the Large Hadron Collider – the giant physics experiment that will not, he reassured us, suck the world into a black hole. «But there's no such thing as bad publicity» he added.

He also reminded us that the World Wide Web was invented at Cern. It was designed as a way for scientists around the world to communicate. And guess what? They're working on an upgrade. The future of communications will be born out of research into the creation of the universe.

In brief, Cern has linked 100,000 of the world's most powerful computers – volunteered by universities and scientists – to create a giant brain. This is known as grid computing. In the future, all of our computers may be on the same grid. In other words, most of our files and software will sit not on our personal computers, but in a shared virtual space accessible to all. Imagine the potential of being able to search this supercomputer when you need a specialist piece of software, or the answer to a difficult question? Ellis recalled a story in which a scientist asks a new supercomputer the question: «Does God exist?» The computer replies: «He does now.»

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Le cerveau

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