From Macroworld Investor: Cray Supercomputer at Sandia Helps Researchers Discover Origin of Mysterious Glass Found in King Tut’s Tomb.
Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced that researchers running simulations on the Cray supercomputer at Sandia National Laboratories have re-created what could have happened 29 million years ago when an asteroid explosion turned Saharan sand into glass. The greenish natural glass, which can still be found scattered across remote stretches of the desert, was used by an artisan in ancient Egypt to carve a scarab that decorates one of the bejeweled breastplates buried in King Tutankhamen’s tomb.
"Supercomputers now allow us to approach these problems as if we were conducting actual experiments," said Mark Boslough, the physicist at Sandia whose theory about the origins of Libyan Desert Glass sparked the research. "With this class of computer, we can run multiple simulations at such high resolution and fidelity that we can see phenomena that we wouldn’t be able to predict from first principles. That means we can explore alternate possibilities as we go. It’s more like doing iterative experimental science than theoretical science." [continue]