Inside supernovae
TRE14 supernovae

More powerful supercomputers could shine a light on some of the most foreign phenomena in the universe. For example, scientists in the future may be able to model the awesome forces that interact when a star explodes. Those events, called supernovae, often spew enough energy and light to outshine an entire galaxy. Supernovae involve not just astrophysics, but chemical and nuclear reactions. Running programs that includes all the sciences at play would require an exaflop of data. With that much power, the next generation of supercomputers could bring the mysteries of deep space closer to home.

This story is from the January 14, 2013 issue of Fortune.
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 15 2013 06:14 AM ET
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