China has a big smog problem. A huge smog problem. And when the country isn't embracing the noxious clouds as "great for defence", it's trying to get rid of them with crazy tech. First artificial rain, now supercomputers.
China's Tianhe-1A — literally the most powerful supercomputer in the world for some 8 months back in 2010-2011 and predecessor to the current champ, the Tianhe-2 — is taking on the pollution challenge by simulating a ridiculously intense computer model of the smog clouds to try and figure out where they're really coming from and how they can be stopped. For data, the Tianhe-1A has 668 monitoring spots in 114 cities to work with, which is hopefully enough to help environmental scientists understand more about the toxic fog, enough to fight it effectively.
But the Tianhe-1A's 2.566 petaFLOPS of computing power won't be brought to bear immediately; it's going to be 3-5 years before the model is put into use and starts churning out results. And who knows if it'll even provide anything useful even then. Don't hold your breath. You know, unless you are outside in China. [Xinhuanet via TechInAsia]