You’ll never bee-lieve how Philip Emeagwali became ‘Bill Gates of Africa’

Emeagwali had unusual method to invent fast computer

Did you ever look at honeycomb constructed by bees and think, “Hey, that’s a great model to create a computer?”

That is what Philip Emeagwali did -- and as a result, he is considered one of history’s most noted Black inventors and the “Bill Gates of Africa.”

While growing up in Nigeria amid a civil war, Emeagwali became an expert studier of nature to help build his intellect.

Years after moving to the United States, in 1989, Emeagwali developed a computer model based on the way bees structured honeycomb because he liked how efficient that process was.

Emulating that honeycomb model, Emeagwali invented at the time the world’s fastest computer, using 65,000 processors to create a machine that performed computations at 3.1 billion calculations per second.

Emeagwali received the Gordon Bell Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications. It’s considered the Nobel Prize for computation.

Over the years, his computer models have been used for weather forecasts and to monitor the reported effects of global warming.

So, next time you decide to look at a beehive, just think -- there can be more possibilities out there than just great honey production.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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