Research NewsComputer Science

Redefining the Supercomputer

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Science  20 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5282, pp. 1655-1657
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5282.1655


The government's high-performance computing program has an audacious new goal: building a computer more than 1000 times faster than today's fastest machine within 10 years. Ata thousand trillion computations per second—a measure of speed known as a petaflops—such a machine could squeeze a year's work for a powerful workstation into 30 seconds. As a first step, researchers are now studying designs for processors that could carry out operations in perhaps 10 trillionths of a second and architectures that could reduce latency—the “down time” when a processor waits for data.