Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Riding for Fusion

MIT Cycling provides energy for the largest human-powered computation ever.

Before taking second place in its division at the 2007 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in ­December, the MIT Cycling team found time to do its part to advance fusion research. On December 11, in the Stata Center lobby, the team powered a ­supercomputer by ­bicycle energy alone, possibly setting a world record for the largest human-­powered computation. The supercomputer performed computations that model high-­temperature plasmas for simulations of tokamak machines, which are used for fusion experiments, explains Eric Edlund, one of several MIT cyclists who also research fusion.

One simulation was of a type required for the understanding and operation of a proposed fusion reactor called the ITER, according to John Wright, a research scientist at MIT’s plasma science and fusion center. “If we could chain down 10 MIT cyclists for a week and find a way to feed them, we might be able to get it all done on bicycle power alone,” he says.

This story is part of the March/April 2008 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

The stunt was made possible in part by the low power requirements of the supercomputer, the SiCortex SC648, which is a Linux-based system built to be particularly energy efficient. The team submitted its results to Guinness and to Google’s Innovate or Die Pedal-­Powered Machine Contest.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Next in MIT News
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.