'Big Bertha' improves scientists' view
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Nov 12, 2000
Scientists at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
have a new desktop monitor to study 3-D models that previously had to be
broadcast onto wall-size screens.
The lab received a prototype of "Big Bertha," the most powerful computer
display ever produced by IBM Corp., about three weeks ago. Scientists are
using it to study the operation and aging of nuclear weapons using 3-D model
simulations produced by the world's fastest supercomputer — the ASCI White
machine that IBM shipped in July, said David Schwoegler, spokesman for the
The new IBM display features a resolution of 200 pixels per inch and
more than 9 million pixels in total on its 22-inch screen, according to
the company. It is as clear as an original photograph and 4.5 times sharper
than top-of-the-line high-definition TV screens.
The resolution on this screen is so precise it can be used instead of
wall-sized theater screens, allowing analysts to operate independently at
their desktops, Schwoegler said.
Lawrence Livermore spent about $80,000 on the first display, and DOE
is expected to buy about 70 more of the high-resolution screens to be used
for research departmentwide, he said.
"Right now the only way scientists and researchers could view 100 million
lines of code with 3-D graphics was on a room-sized wall display — and one
at a time," Schwoegler said. "Now they can work at their desktop with this
kind of output."
IBM plans to ship the displays to other customers in 2001 and license
the patented technologies to other manufacturers.
Any applications that require extremely high-resolution images, including
telemedicine, weather forecasting, publishing and graphic design, product
development and satellite mapping can benefit from this technology.