Free registration required to read the article. “An I.B.M. machine has reclaimed the title of world’s fastest supercomputer, overtaking a Japanese computer that had caused shock waves at United States government agencies when it set a computing speed record in 2002.
Supercomputing technologies were widely viewed as indicators of national industrial prowess in the 1980′s and 1990′s. They are used extensively in weapons design.
More recently, federal officials have become concerned that lagging investment in high-performance computing could leave the United States vulnerable to competition in industries ranging from biotechnology to materials science.
The International Business Machines computer is based on a computing technology, called BlueGene/L, that takes an approach radically different from that used by the Japanese supercomputer, called the Earth Simulator.
The Japanese machine, which was built to analyze climate change patterns, uses fewer processors than the I.B.M. machine, but they are specialized and faster.”