NASA Steals The Supercomputing Crown

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<b>NASA Steals The Supercomputing Crown </b><br /><br />LINK<br /><br />NASA’s new supercomputer, called Columbia, is now the fastest in the world, the space agency claimed on Tuesday.<br /><br />Columbia has achieved a speed of 42.7 teraflops in a standard benchmark test, say scientists from NASA, Intel and US-based Silicon Graphics Inc.<br /><br />A single teraflop is one million million floating-point operations - or intensive mathematical calculations - per second and is about 100 times faster than the most powerful desktop computers are capable of currently.<br /><br />NASA’s achievement is the third claim to supercomputing superiority to be announced since 29 September 2004 as manufacturers and researchers race to hone their machines before the official update of the Top500 supercomputer list on 8 November.<br /><br />“It’s a little like a poker game,” says Horst Simon of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, US. “Everyone is gradually showing some cards, but the actual winner won’t be announced until November.” <br /><br /><br />Runners and riders <br /><br /><br />There are at least three supercomputers vying for first place. IBM’s Blue Gene/L stole the crown from the then defending champion - the NEC Earth Simulator - when it achieved 36 teraflops on the standard benchmark test on 29 September. <br /><br />And on 21 October, NEC announced that a large array of its newly launched SX-8 computational units could more than double Blue Gene’s capability if run at full capacity, though this claim is yet to be demonstrated. <br /><br />But Columbia - named after the ill-fated space shuttle that crashed in February 2003 - is the first computer to record more calculations per second than Blue Gene. “This is the fastest supercomputer in the world,” says Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee and an overseer of the Top500 list of the
 
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