Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Supercomputer Math Speeds Up.(New Mexico & The West)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

* UNM scientist helps develop a program that makes it possible to solve complex problems faster

David Bader hunts shortcuts.

The University of New Mexico computer scientist has found his share, but none quite as striking as the path he and his colleagues found to the roots of the bluebell family tree.

Supercomputers get faster every year, but there are always scientific problems beyond their reach, that take too long for even the best machines.

The bluebell problem was a doozy.

Bob Jansen at the University of Texas, Austin, was trying to use genetic data to figure out the common flower's family tree.

"We're interested in understanding the evolutionary history of this flower," Jansen said in a recent interview.

Jansen and his colleagues took genetic data on 13 species of bluebells and cranked up the state-of-the-art in computer codes for comparing genes to find common ancestors.

They let it run. And run. And run.

After two days, they stopped the program to see how far it had gotten. …

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