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What makes SuperComputer a super Computer? Unlike fictional heroic character SuperMan, there do exist SuperComputer. The unimaginable processing power of such computers is what make them super from other normal computers. The followings are few of the facts based on SuperComputers.

1. The performance of supercomputer is judged using the LINPCK benchmark, introduced by Jack Dongarra.

2. Blue Hene is the nickname of the new supercomputer from IBM that would be 1000 times faster than Deep Blue.

3.The four most powerful supercomputers in the world are owned by government agencies or universitites. Japan's Earth Simulator Center is listed as the world-record holder at 35.8 teraflops.

4. Seymour Cray, creator of high-end computers, whose vehicle was tested against accidents by his own systems, could not save himself- he died in car crash.

5. A supercomputer executes a single program much faster than a mainframe. But mainframes are considered more powerful because they support more multitasking.

6. Amongst other uses, supercomputers are used for weather forecasting animated graphics, nuclear energy research and petroleum exploration.

7. General Motors has purchased an IBM supercomputer,the companies say is the fastest in the automotive industry. The new supercomputer, based on IBM's Power4 and power5 technology, more than doubles the computing capacity of GM, and is expected to slash the amount of time it takes to get a vehicle to market from four years to 18 months.

8. Autommotive companies including Ford, Toyota and Daimler Chrysler own 12 of the 500 fastest supercomputer in the world.

9. MIPS stands for 'millions of instruction per second'. This is a measure of the speed at which a computer can perform programmed instructions.

10. The fastest supercomputer in India is the 574-CPU cluster at Intel, Bangalore.

11. 'FLOPS' refers to ' floating point operations per second', and represents the speed at which a computer can perform mathematical calculations( like multiplication and division). Researchers making use of high-performance computing tend to be more interested in this number than in MIPS or the more familiar clock speed MHz rating. The MHz rating is not particularly useful here, as high- performance computers can perform several million mathematical operations per cycle.

12. Since it went operational in 2001, the Japanese Earth Simulator has consistently claimed the top spot in the list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. It has been benchmarked at a speed of 35.86 TeraFLOPs/sec.

13. Apple powers the world's third most powerful supercomputer-viginia Tech's X is a cluster supercomputer that contains 1100 Apple G5 systems each having 2 IBM Power PC 970 processors rated at 2GHz. Each node has 4GB of main memory and 160 GB of serial ATA storage and 176 TB total secondary storage. The maximum computing speed benchmarked is 10.28 TeraFLOPS/sec.

14. The first fully transistorised supercomputer was the CDC 1604, designed by Seymour Cray in 1958.

15. The nine other supercomputers in the list of top 20 supercomputers are located in the United States, apart from Japan's Earth simulator.

16. As of November 2003, there were seven 'cluster' supercomputes in the top 10 list, and just three traditional 'stratospheric' supercomputers. Two hundred and eight systems on the top 500 supercomputer list are classified as clusters, making them the most common architecture in the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

17. Cluster supercomputers are made up by clustering a lot of computers and connecting them through a high speed network; traditional supercomputers-the 'stratospheric' ones- are monolithic and have several CPUs working in parallel, using shared memory through high speed interconnects. Industry analysts often say that clusters cannot provide very high performance and this makes for interesting new-since clusters are now predominant.

18. CDAC's ParamPadma cluster supercomputer was ranked in June 2003 as the world's 171st fastest; by November 2003, it fell down to 258 with newer and more powerful supercomputers entering the list.

19. "Central Iron" is slang for a centrally funded computing resource. The CNS IBM RS/6000 Rack is an example of central iron.

20. The Berkeley Computer Corporation was formed in 1968 to build a supercomputer that could accomodate up to 500 users at a time.

21. India's fastest supercomputer is an Intel Xeon cluster owned by Intel, ranked at 105 in the world, in November 2003.

22. 50 percent of the top 500 fastest systems are installed in the United States. Also, 90 percent of all 500 systems are produced in the United States.

23. The US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has commisioned Cray Inc. to build the world's fastest supercomputer. This 50-100 teraFLOPs machine should surpass NEC's 35 teraFLOPs Earth Simulator and allow the US to regain the top spot in supecomputers. Cray's supercomputer will require 12 megawatts of dedicated power!


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