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Forschungszentrum Jülich - Annual Report 2011

10 Forschungszentrum Jülich | Annual Report 2011 Predicting the Success of Operations 1 September 2011 | Doctors refer to a narrowing of the bony spinal canal as spinal stenosis. A study published by researchers from Jülich and Düsseldorf in the Journal of Nu- clear Medicine shows that it is possible to predict whether an operation will improve clinical symptoms of spinal steno- sis, such as loss of feeling and paralysis, by examining the metabolic activity in the cervical region of the spine using positron emission tomography. Forces in Blood 5 July 2011 | Red blood cells attract each other, but the forc- es at work are tiny. Physicists from Jülich and the USA report on calculations showing that these forces are around ten mil- lion times smaller than the force created by the weight of a mosquito that has landed. Computer simulations show that these forces nevertheless determine the flow resistance of blood. They could help to develop microfluidic systems, which can be used for diagnostic purposes. Record-Breaking Simulation 21 July 2011 | The fast multipole method is an algorithm that calculates the gravity and other long-range forces acting be- tween particles. Scientists at Jülich have improved the calcu- lation rule, making it possible for the JUGENE supercomputer to calculate a system comprising 3,011,561,968,121 particles in only eleven minutes – a world record! If you were to calcu- late the forces between so many particles directly, JUGENE would require 32,000 years for a single run. A normal PC would take a billion years. New Magnetic Order Discovered 31 July 2011 | Physicists from Jülich, Hamburg and Kiel re- port in Nature Physics on how they discovered a regular lat- tice of “magnetic skyrmions” on a surface. Skyrmions are spiral and exceptionally stable spin structures, which could provide the basis for a new generation of smaller and more efficient data storage systems (see “Magnetic Spirals Com- prising Fifteen Atoms”, p. 30). Forschungszentrum Jülich | Annual Report 2011 PC 1 processor Method Fast multipole method Previous method JUGENE 294,912 processors 220 days 11 minutes 1 billion years 32,000 years 10