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How disorderly young galaxies grow up and mature

Using a supercomputer simulation, a research team at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in following the development of a galaxy over a span of 13.8 billion years. The study shows how, due to interstellar frontal collisions, ...

Strong magnetic fields change how friction works in plasma

Friction in plasma gets weird in the presence of very strong magnetic fields, a team of plasma researchers at the University of Michigan has shown. The findings could affect fusion energy strategies and the development of ...

Protecting earth from space storms

"There are only two natural disasters that could impact the entire U.S.," according to Gabor Toth, professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan. "One is a pandemic and the other is ...

COVID gets quantum treatment for drug discovery

Since the first known case of COVID-19 in December 2019, the disease has infected over 180 million people and killed nearly four million. A successful group of vaccines that target the coronavirus's spike protein has started ...

Targeting tumors with nanoworms

Drugs and vaccines circulate through the vascular system reacting according to their chemical and structural nature. In some cases, they are intended to diffuse. In other cases, like cancer treatments, the intended target ...

Getting to the core of HIV replication

Viruses lurk in the gray area between the living and the nonliving, according to scientists. Like living things, they replicate but they don't do it on their own. The HIV-1 virus, like all viruses, needs to hijack a host ...

Tracking cosmic ghosts

The idea was so far-fetched it seemed like science fiction: create an observatory out of a one cubic kilometer block of ice in Antarctica to track ghostly particles called neutrinos that pass through the Earth. But speaking ...

First complete coronavirus model shows cooperation

The COVID-19 virus holds some mysteries. Scientists remain in the dark on aspects of how it fuses and enters the host cell; how it assembles itself; and how it buds off the host cell.

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Supercomputer

A supercomputer is a computer that is at the frontline of current processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation. Supercomputers introduced in the 1960s were designed primarily by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation (CDC), and led the market into the 1970s until Cray left to form his own company, Cray Research. He then took over the supercomputer market with his new designs, holding the top spot in supercomputing for five years (1985–1990). In the 1980s a large number of smaller competitors entered the market, in parallel to the creation of the minicomputer market a decade earlier, but many of these disappeared in the mid-1990s "supercomputer market crash".

Today, supercomputers are typically one-of-a-kind custom designs produced by "traditional" companies such as Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, who had purchased many of the 1980s companies to gain their experience. As of July 2009[update], the IBM Roadrunner, located at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is the fastest supercomputer in the world.

The term supercomputer itself is rather fluid, and today's supercomputer tends to become tomorrow's ordinary computer. CDC's early machines were simply very fast scalar processors, some ten times the speed of the fastest machines offered by other companies. In the 1970s most supercomputers were dedicated to running a vector processor, and many of the newer players developed their own such processors at a lower price to enter the market. The early and mid-1980s saw machines with a modest number of vector processors working in parallel to become the standard. Typical numbers of processors were in the range of four to sixteen. In the later 1980s and 1990s, attention turned from vector processors to massive parallel processing systems with thousands of "ordinary" CPUs, some being off the shelf units and others being custom designs. Today, parallel designs are based on "off the shelf" server-class microprocessors, such as the PowerPC, Opteron, or Xeon, and most modern supercomputers are now highly-tuned computer clusters using commodity processors combined with custom interconnects.

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