New computer model might be smart enough to predict the future.

The complexity of the planet we live on is part of its beauty, but it's also why scientists have such a hard time predicting what effect various changes in the ecosystem will have. A new computer model, the Madingley Model, can simulate the way in which all types of organisms interact on a global scale – and has even managed to make its first accurate prediction about the future.

Created by Drew Purves and his colleagues at Microsoft's Computational Science Lab in Cambridge, is unlike traditional models, which collect as much data as possible, before adding it altogether in one simulation. “We throw small amounts of every type of animal and plant everywhere and off they go,” says Purves. After that, some organisms flourish, while others die out. Some flourish in one environment, others migrate, and some perish. Eventually, things reach an equilibrium that resembles life on Earth – minus the humans.

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