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Big Mac is Second Fastest Super Computer

"Big Mac" supercomputer at Virginia Tech is strung together from 1,100 dual-processor Power Mac G5s and was found to be second only to Japan's monstrously big and expensive Earth Simulator. The Big Mac's theoretical peak is 17.6 teraflops, which would easily put it in second place behind Japan's Earth Simulator, a monster machine composed of more than 5,000 processors operating at 35.6 trillion calculations per second. The Big Mac is the first supercomputer based on Macs; it is one of the few supercomputers built entirely from off-the-shelf components and it cost a bargain-bucket price--only $5.2 million. By comparison, most of the top 10 supercomputers cost about $40 million and up. The Earth Simulator cost $350 million.

Interestingly, an article from yesterday's Wired suggests that in the near future a new high-performance, low-power floating-point processor will provide you with similar performance for tens of thousands of dollars rather than millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. Don't you just love Moore's Law?

Wired October 15, 2003

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