Lewis Fry Richardson

I have always loved the strange and wonderful tale of Lewis Fry Richardson, the British scientist who spent much of World War I driving an ambulance and calculating, by hand, a one-day weather forecast.

That obviously was not practical, so Richardson dreamed up a stadium-sized room full of “computers” (they were people who computed back then), doing their calculations and passing paper back and forth among their neighbors.

The architecture of Sandia National Laboratories new Red Storm supercomputer is very Richardson-like (lots of near-neighbor message passing), so I took the opportunity for an extended riff.