July 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM ET
Scientists have cranked up a supercomputer to improve on one of life's simplest pleasures, by tweaking the texture and extending the shelf life of ice cream.
This might be seen as an egregious overuse of technology to anyone who’s stood around an old-fashioned ice-cream maker cranking the handle on a bucket full of rock salt and ice, but serving up the treat to the masses is big business, and tastier, longer lasting frozen treats could mean big bucks.
Big enough, Gizmodo notes, to justify harnessing the power of computer packing a total of 1,872 processors to model the complex interactions between the various ingredients in your favorite pint of frozen flavored sugar milk to find the best combination.
The collaboration between researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Soft Condensed Matter Physics group and the Edinburgh Parallel Computer Center harnesses supercomputers to "study, predict and ultimately improve the behavior of 'soft matter'." Ice cream happens to be the tastiest example.
The same technology has been used to model weather patterns and nuclear explosions, explains a promotional video from Nvidia, whose processors are packed in the Cray supercomputer.
The ice cream modeling research is also applicable to engine oil, paints, ketchup, mayonnaise, even soaps and shampoos, according to Alan Gray at the University of Edinburgh.
— via Gizmodo