IBM Supercomputer Discovers Oldest English Words

Who said supercomputers were only good for powering governmental facilities and handling the dirty work for NASA? At the University of Reading in the UK, scientists have been able to utilize an immensely powerful IBM ThamesBlue supercomputer in order to find the oldest words in the English language.

According to a release pushed out by IBM on the subject, it took "an average of six weeks to perform a computational task such as comparing two sets of words in different languages," and once its brawny machine stepped in, that time was cut down to "a few hours." Evolutionary language scientists at the institution long believed that they would be unable to track words back in time for more than 5,000 years, but with the help of a supercomputer, that range has now been extended back to around 30,000 years.

In analyzing the family of Indo-European languages (P.S. - English is contained in there), they've been able to find that "I," "we," "who," and the numbers "1," "2," and "3" are amongst the oldest. Not surprising, sure, but fascinating nonetheless. Potentially more interesting is that words such as "squeeze," "stick," "guts" and "throw" were noted as being particularly old, proving that boys will be boys regardless of the era.

And to think, this is just a glimmer of what's possible when supercomputers are involved. Maybe we're selfish and / or obsessed, but can anyone say "LAN party server?"