'Big Bertha' improves scientists' view

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

lab.

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.

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