back to article China's answer to AIRPOCALYPSE: Fire up the supercomputer

China has decided to use the power of supercomputing to help in its on-going quest to beat the smog that is turning the country into an international coughing laughing stock. The Tianhe-1A, which took number one spot on the oft-changing Top 500 list for a few months in 2010, will be set to work trying to figure out the cause …


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  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The building is driven by 10 megawatts of solar power, of course.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Entirely predictable

    I'm sure many readers will remember seeing footage of roads in Beijing in the 70s and 80s: Stacked with people on identical black bikes. I'm also sure I'm not the only one that thought that if the day ever came when they swapped their bikes for cars then this kind of pollution was inevitable.

  3. Chairo

    They have to do something

    so they decided to study the problem a bit longer.

    Or with other words: let's win some time until winter is over or the weather changes. (Whatever comes first).

    And no, it has nothing to do with the long, long delays in introduction of stronger emission standards. (cough, cough)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: They have to do something

      Enhanced automobile emission standards won't help much - most of the smog is due to coalburning in private dwellings or apartment blocks.

      1. Andy Gates

        Re: They have to do something

        We tackled that with the Clean Air act and its friends. Low-emmissions fuel and a big push to electrify (and gasify) domestic heating.

        Should be relatively easy for a more centrally-controlled setup to reproduce. Wrap it in a 5 Year Smog Plan and Chang-e's your bunny.

  4. cs94njw

    "The hope is that it will be able to accurately forecast well in advance the conditions which create that perfect smoggy storm."

    Well, I'm no supercomputer, but I'd said this is due to billions of people all using crappy emission spouting cars/scooters, in a high-rise city.

    1. NomNomNom

      there is no evidence humans are responsible. There have been dust and other particles in the air for millions of years. It's sheer arrogance to imagine humans can make a blind bit of difference let alone stop these natural cycles.

      1. Cubical Drone

        Is that you Lewis?

  5. Alan Brown Silver badge

    The problem has been around for a while says that similar events have been recorded as far back as AD174, but these smogs are becoming more frequent/deadly and it's fairly clear there's a human component to them

    See also

    It would be nice to think that eastern countries might look at the gross mistakes of western ones wrt pollution and use the lessons learned to avoid generating simliar catastrophes, but so far it seems that they're just using them as a set of instructions to make matters worse.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    while !EOF printf ("coal")

    That was easy.

  7. loneranger

    Beyond the obvious causes

    It isn't only dirty coal power plants and cars, they've got coal mines that have been on fire for a very long time, just pouring pollution and CO2 into the air, but they do nothing to stop it.

  8. DanceMan

    It's 2013 and they need a supercomputer to tell them where the crap in the air is coming from?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could it have anything to do with building all the world's shit and having no environmental policy?

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