Supercomputers are the bodybuilders of the computer world. They boast tens of thousands of times the computing power of a desktop and cost tens of millions of dollars. They fill enormous rooms, which are chilled to prevent their thousands of microprocessor cores from overheating. And they perform trillions, or even thousands of trillions, of calculations per second.
All of that power means supercomputers are perfect for tackling big scientific problems, from uncovering the origins of the universe to delving into the patterns of protein folding that make life possible. Here are some of the most intriguing questions being tackled by supercomputers today.