Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SUPERCOMPUTERS by Charlene W. Billings


Shaping the Future

by Charlene W. Billings

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-8160-3096-0
Publisher: Facts On File

In the Science Sourcebooks series, Billings (Pesticides, 1993, etc.) meets the ``grand challenge'' of writing about the workings of supercomputers, the fastest, most powerful and complicated computers in the world. This is an admirable translation of incredibly complex technical information for young readers. Although slow-going for novices, Billings's explanations about the development of supercomputers, the mechanics of processing, and the structures of such systems make sense of the overwhelming world of computer science. The book's second half is by far the more tantalizing, dealing with how supercomputers will transform our lives in the years to come. The story of leading-edge researchers, and the five supercomputing centers in the US that support efforts to solve so- called grand-challenge scientific problems, makes for awe-inspiring reading. The only minor quibble is the organization; with so few books on this topic for any age group, Billings may be forgiven for not selling the sizzle (the applications of supercomputing) before the steak (the nuts and bolts of the hardware). A thoroughly researched, comprehensive overview of an incredible new world. (b&w photos, diagrams, index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 11+)