INTERTWinE explained in everyday words

Here we explain INTERTWinE using only vocabulary from the 1000 most common words in the English language.

Since people started making computers, they have been getting faster and faster every year. But now there is a problem: it is hard to make one piece of a computer work any faster because it will get too hot and burn up. So now the only way to make faster computers is to make them out of more and more pieces which all work together to find the answer to a problem.  

We need faster computers to study problems like how to make sick people better, knowing when it is going to rain, understanding where stars come from, building safer cars, finding new ways to get power, and knowing how our brains work. Our biggest computers are already really fast, but we would like to build ones that can add numbers together one hundred hundred hundred hundred hundred hundred hundred hundred hundred times every second!

To make a computer that fast, it will need to be built from lots and lots of pieces. There will be big groups of pieces which will have smaller groups of pieces inside them, and then smaller groups inside those, and so on. We can even use pieces of computers that are good at drawing pictures to add numbers together for us. Each group of pieces will also have its own bit of memory for keeping the numbers in. But we need to be able to tell all the pieces what to do, to tell them how to talk to other pieces inside the smallest groups, and to tell different groups of pieces how to talk to each other, so that all the pieces can work together to find the answer to a problem.

To tell computers how to answer a question, we use sets of words that tell the computer pieces what numbers to add together and in what order. But we often use one set of words for telling the big groups of pieces how to talk to each other and a different set of words for telling the small groups how to talk to each other. We use yet another different set of words to tell the picture drawing pieces what to do.

In order to make everything work together really well, we need to make the different word sets fit together in the right way, so that the computer doesn't spend more time finding the answer than it has to. So that's what our work is all about - making better word sets and making the different word sets work together in the best possible way. If we can do a good job, then we can tell the really, really big computers what to do and maybe get answers to some of the world's big problems!

Last updated: 29 Mar 2017 at 11:51