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FALSE CLAIMS: Emeagwali battles history scholar, Falolah

Falola and Emeagwali


As Prof  Toyin Falola, a historian and the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History at the University of Texas at Austin denies spearheading the recent critiques  of Philip Emeagwali, accused by two Nigerian media of making false claims about his achievements, the man in the middle of the saga, Philip Emeagwali, has replied on his web site, that beginning from this Monday, he would begin to record his achievement as answer most of the questions about him raised.

The Nigerian government had said it would invite the scientist on his works or it would remove his image on its postal stamp.

An online and a print media also online had reported on “How Philip Emeagwali Lied His Way To Fame,” prompting an ethnic diatribe, even though the argument was actually began in  2005, by an Igbo man, Jonathan Elendu of

Falola had declared that he had not written a word on the Emeagwali saga. The only connection he had with those critiques is that he hosts the listerve USAAfrica, where a debate on the subject took place sometime ago, and that a broad range of subjects are discussed on USAAfrica spanning various aspects of Africana existence.

The Falola report, like Elendu’s  had accused Emeagwali of asserting for over a decade, the following, that he is father of the Internet but his critics  claim that is false because he has made no contribution to any aspects of the Internet’s development. And that his claim to this achievement is that he  remotely programmed a computer.

It is argued that remote programming was not only being done by others, but that the Internet was already in existence before then and that his efforts had no effect on its development.

They said Emeagwali had  earlier claimed that he was a  forerunner in the idea of the possibility of an Internet but there is no evidence that his work was a forerunner of the Internet. “Emeagwali has later modified his claim  to state that he is a father of the Internet.

The judges who awarded him  the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize state  that he has made no impact on the development of the Internet. Emeagwali states that he developed the CM-2,the supercomputer known as the Connection  Machine, which he used in winning the Gordon Bell Prize. The 1989 Gordon Bell Prize judges  not only state that is not the case  but that he made no  contribution to the development of the CM-2.There is also no evidence,anywhere, of such a contribution by Emeagwali.

Some supporters claim that he has influenced the oil industry. That might be so and it is plausible because his prize winning work was in that field but there is no evidence of any such influence from his work. Emeagwli states that he made a world record calculation at his 1989 Gordon Bell Prize win but that is is not  true because,according to the official report of the prize by the judges, his speed was the second fastest  so it could not have been a world record.

Emeagwali states that his work has been vital to the computer industry .There is no evidence of any impact of his work on the computer industry. He asserted that he has many patents. There is no evidence of any except for his website. His recent change of wording to “patent claims”  does not hold water because as far as his interview with Reuben Abati more than ten years ago in the Guardian, Nigeria,he clearly stated that he has many patents. So the recent change is an effort to modify the lie.”

They also said that Alan Karp and Jack Dongarra who awarded Emegwali the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize state that his work on the prize made no impact in his field and are not aware of any impact his work has made in any field and who state that he has virtually achieved nothing as a scientist apart from winning that prize.

However, Emeagwali, who on his website has opened a page to reply to his critics, said in the second part response said his discoveries changed calculations in computing, physics, geology among others. He said he wrote the actual equations used by Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) to simulate the flow of oil, water, and gas inside its reservoirs, and that he discovered that their equations did not reflect reality and corrected their error.

“I discovered that Exxon, Mobil, and Shell summed only three forces within their simulators—namely pressure, viscosity, and gravity. Seeing that a fourth force, inertia, should also be summed, I noted that using the sum of only three forces, F (the applied force in the simulator) will not be equal to the ma in the reservoir because the reservoir contains four forces.

Based on my findings, I told the oil companies: As an internet scientist, I am the outsider to physics who saw the inertial force that was previously unseen in any petroleum reservoir simulator. My invention was to make force equal to mass times acceleration in simulators and thus to rediscover the Second Law of Motion within simulators.

My discovery occurred while I was solving one of the 20 Grand Challenge problems of supercomputing on 65,536 subcomputers that were interconnected like an internet. It occurred because I was aware that physics informs algebra, just as algebra informs calculus. I understood that calculus informs algorithm, just as algorithm informs each subcomputer.

And I knew that each subcomputer uses its hypercubic internet connection to inform its nearest-neighboring subcomputers.“As for me, I am well known, but not known well. What was not known well was that I anchored my 3.1 billion calculations per second, which made the news in 1989, to the laws of physics. I programmed my supercomputer as an internet with the Second Law of Motion as my north star. When mathematicians lose their way, the laws of physics should serve as signs, each a compass pointing them back to the correct path. In the end, the forces in our physical world must correspond to those on our storyboard, blackboard, and motherboard.”


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