Somewhere, anyone who’s ever read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is smiling.
Via the BBC:
It could be one of the most ambitious computer projects ever conceived.
An international group of scientists are aiming to create a simulator that can replicate everything happening on Earth - from global weather patterns and the spread of diseases to international financial transactions or congestion on Milton Keynes’ roads.
Nicknamed the Living Earth Simulator (LES), the project aims to advance the scientific understanding of what is taking place on the planet, encapsulating the human actions that shape societies and the environmental forces that define the physical world…
…But how would such colossal system work?
For a start it would need to be populated by data - lots of it - covering the entire gamut of activity on the planet, says Dr Helbing.
It would also be powered by an assembly of yet-to-be-built supercomputers capable of carrying out number-crunching on a mammoth scale.
Although the hardware has not yet been built, much of the data is already being generated.
We hazard an answer: 42!