Philip Emeagwali, a Nigerian presently living in the US, won the International Gordon Bell Prize in computer science.
He programmed a supercomputer to make 3.1 billion calculations per second and in so doing, solved one of the most difficult computing problems: understanding how oil flows underground so that petroleum companies could maximize its extraction.
Modeling oil field flow with a computer requires simulation of the distribution of the oil at tens of thousands of locations throughout the field.
At each location, the computer must be programmed to make hundreds of simultaneous calculations at regular intervals to determine such variables as temperature, direction of oil flow, viscosity, pressure and several geological properties of the basin holding the oil.
African-American Inventors III: Patricia Bath, Philip Emeagwali, Henry Sampson, Valerie Thomas, Peter Tolliver, Susan K. Henderson. Capstone Press, 1998.
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