aarondubrow writes: Three years ago, researchers from Caltech and The University of Texas at Austin came together to create a computational tool that could model the Earth and answer the most pressing questions in geophysics: What controls the speed of plates? How do microplates interact? How much energy do the plates generate and how does it dissipate? Using a new geodynamics software package they developed, the researchers have modeled plate motion with greater accuracy than ever before. Their findings were published in the Aug. 27, 2010 issue of Science and featured on the cover. The project is also a finalist for the Gordon Bell Prize — high performance computing’s Oscar — at this year’s SC10 conference.