Press Release

Cray Supercomputer Used to Confirm Universe is Flat and Will Expand Forever

By SpaceRef Editor
May 11, 2000
Filed under

Cray Inc.
announced today that a 696-processor Cray supercomputer was used to
confirm that the universe is flat and will expand forever.

The Cray T3E supercomputer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, along with software developed
there, helped obtain the most detailed measurements yet of cosmic
microwave background radiation. The results were recently released by
the international BOOMERANG consortium, led by Andrew Lange of the
California Institute of Technology and Paolo Bernardis of the
University of Rome.

The calculation required 50,000 hours of processor time and would
have taken almost six years to complete if run on a desktop personal
computer. On the Cray T3E computer, processing time over the life of
the project totaled less than three weeks.

“From studying our universe to studying the human genome,
scientists are generating incredible amounts of data — but it takes
the capabilities of supercomputing facilities such as the Energy
Department’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center to
make sense of and learn from that data,” said Secretary of Energy Bill

“We’re excited to have had a vital role in this research program,
whose results reflect the leading-edge capabilities of NERSC in
particular and the growing contributions of scientific computing in
general,” said Horst Simon, Berkeley Lab’s NERSC Division Director.
“It is particularly fitting that new answers about the nature of our
universe were found in a supercomputer at Berkeley Lab, where many of
the past century’s greatest scientific discoveries were made.”

BOOMERANG — which stands for “balloon observations of millimetric
extragalactic radiation and geophysics” — was supported in the United
States principally by the National Science Foundation and NASA. In
January 1999, the BOOMERANG Long Duration Ballooning mission completed
its circumnavigation of the South Pole after ten and a half days
aloft. Instruments suspended beneath the balloon made close to one
billion measurements of the tiny variations in the temperature of the
cosmic microwave background (CMB) across a wide swath of the sky.

The NERSC website is at

BOOMERANG’s website is at
(mirrored in Europe at

Julian Borrill’s MADCAP program is publicly available on the web

The Berkeley Lab ( is a U.S. Department of
Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It
conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the
University of California.

About Cray Inc.

Cray Inc., formerly Tera Computer Company, designs, builds and
sells high-performance vector processor and general-purpose parallel
computer systems. The company has leading-edge technology, multiple
product platforms, nearly 900 employees, a $2 billion installed base
of over 600 computers worldwide, major manufacturing and service
capabilities, and extensive global customer relationships. Cray
believes its Multithreaded Architecture and Cray SV2 systems together
represent the future of supercomputing.


Cray Inc.
Steve Conway, 651/683-7133
Ken Johnson/Jim Rottsolk, 206/701-2000,

SpaceRef staff editor.