Medical research

Re-engineering antibodies for COVID-19

With millions of COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, people are turning to antibody tests to find out whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus that causes the disease. But what are antibodies? Why are they ...

Medical research

Crowdsourced virtual supercomputer revs up virus research

Gamers, bitcoin "miners" and companies large and small have teamed up for an unprecedented data-crunching effort that aims to harness idle computing power to accelerate research for a coronavirus treatment.

Medical research

World's first skin atlas to see the light of day

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have compiled an atlas of the protein composition of the human skin. It will be released today at a scientific symposium held in connection with the inauguration of the university's ...


Human Brain Project launches European research infrastructure

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is developing a shared European research infrastructure with the aim of examining the organization of the brain using detailed analyses and simulations and thus combating neurological and psychiatric ...

Medical research

Findings pinpoint modules that regulate glioblastoma genes

Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), Moores Cancer Center, and Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, have shown for the first time a pyramid hierarchical network of "coherent ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The search for Ebola immune response targets

The effort to develop therapeutics and a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) requires a complex understanding of the microorganism and its relationship within the host, especially the immune response. Adding ...

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA