A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a way of bring supercomputing power to the Android phone.
The team at MIT have been working with colleagues from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to develop the application.
The researchers performed a series of simulations on the Ranger supercomputer to generate a small "reduced model" which was transferred to a slightly less costly front-end: the Android smart phone. They were then able to solve problems on the phone and visualise the results on the fly.
The project proved the potential for reduced order methods to perform real-time and reliable simulations for complicated problems on handheld devices.
The use of small-scale devices to perform calculations is not new, what the MIT work has done however, is to add a system of error bounds which provides a range of possible solutions and a metric as to whether an answer is accurate or not.
"You don't need to have a high-powered computer on hand," said David Knezevic, a post-doctoral associate in mechanical engineering at MIT. "Once you've created the reduced model, you can do all the computations on a phone. "We have a bound on how much accuracy we're losing with our reduced model, so we can say with rigor that we're doing supercomputing on a phone."