While reading an MSNBC article about Britain's Fastest Supercomputer HECToR, I was shocked to see the inverse synergy that was portrayed in the article:
"With the power of 12,000 desktop PCs, the mammoth machine called HECToR is the country's fastest computer and one of the most powerful in Europe.
It can make 63 million calculations each second, allowing scientists to conduct research into everything from climate change to new medicines."
My old Mac G5 is 1000 times faster than Britain's fastest supercomputer? They really got ripped off! They could have just bought a Pentium II 300 and had two extra megaflops. I guess that having the power of 12,000 desktop simply refers to the fact that they have a redundant array of e-machines aftermarket power supplies which as we all know, are far better than the originals, and Britain wouldn't want their floppy drive to get corrupted during a reboot!
Now, I'm not the type of person to believe everything I read, but what type of technology writer could possibly make such a mistake? Interestingly, the person who posted this article on MSNBC had taken it from the Reuters feed, which at the time I'm writing this says the same thing.
Of course, we know that the worlds fastest computer is Japan's MDGRAPE-3 @ 1 petafllop, followed by the BlueGene at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California @ 478.2 teraflops. Of course the BlueGene is considered the the world's fastest because it is not in Japan. This helps us to understand why a computer that is far slower than everything I use on a daily basis can be the fastest in Britain, it's that pesky high pound vs. dollar value which must reach a balance somewhere. This balance is struck in the amount of processing power allocated to other countries. That is why Japan's supercomputer doesn't exist even though it is so fast, and why Britain's is so fast even though it is so slow.
Now, I will clear up the mistakes made in the Reuters feed, which should have read as follows: With 12,000 redundant aftermarket e-machines power supplies, the mammoth machine called HECToR is the country's fastest computer and one of the most powerful in Europe due in part to the surprising stability of the Euro.
It can make 63 million calculations each second, allowing scientists to check e-mail, run DOS programs, and play tetris.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is, don't believe everything you read, because, not only is it poorly written, it's wrong.