MIT Cyclists Set Record for Pedal-Powered Supercomputing

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A team of 10 cyclists from MIT have set a new world record in the field of Human Powered Computation (HPC) by drawing 1.2 kilowatts of electricity and powering a a SiCortex SC648 supercomputer over the course of a 20 minute nonstop ride. If you recall, SiCortex pulled a similar stunt with another group of bikers at this year's NextFest. The original idea came in response to Google's "Innovate or Die" contest that challenges contestants to use pedal power to develop a "zero emission invention." More info and a video after the break.


The bikes were hooked up to generators that supplied direct current energy to a converter which, in turn, fed couple of small SiCortex supercomputers with alternating current. At the time, the computers were running a program that simulates a fusion reaction. According to the findings, a traditional supercomputer would have required 10x as much electricity to perform the same calculations. In the end, the team did its part to promote alternative sources of energy —let's just hope, for the cycling team's sake, that the focus at MIT stays on nuclear fusion as this alternative energy source, and not the legs of its top athletes. [XConomy and Gizmag]