Illustris: Incredible New Universe Simulation Built with Supercomputer


Using a supercomputer, scientists have built a 3-dimensional model of how the universe evolved after the big bang. Apparently, the model is so complex that a normal desktop computer would have required 2,000 years to do all the calculations.

It is a breathtakingly beautiful and detailed model, allowing viewers to find galaxies and dive into them. It shows the spreading of cosmic gasses, the distribution of both dark and ordinary matter, and the formation of galaxies. No such model has ever been built before. It’s the result of a collaboration known as the Illustris Project.

1964 Bell Labs Film About How to Make Films with a Computer


This fascinating film was produced at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1964. It was made by Ken Knowlton to describe the use of computers to make animated films. The film itself was created entirely on a computer. This is a glimpse into the groundbreaking work that led to the computer graphics we all enjoy so frequently today. Knowlton was both an artist and a computer graphics programmer who developed several programming languages for producing bitmap animations.

Interestingly, Ken Knowlton worked closely with pioneering experimental filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek at the Bell Labs on many early computer animations. Vanderbeek is the subject of my prior post about his short film, ‘Science Friction.’


SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks with International Space Station

The Dragon capsule from SpaceX has become the first privately operated spaceship to dock with the International Space Station. Early this morning astronauts aboard the ISS used the station’s robotic grappling arm to snag the capsule after its successful close approach. The arm then pulled the capsule in to berth with station’s Harmony module. This is another incredible achievement in space and should begin a new era of private space travel and support for the ISS.

You can watch video of the robotic arm capture.