Supercomputers, the worlds's largest and fastest computers, are primarily used for complex scientific calculations. The parts of a supercomputer are comparable to those of a desktop computer: they both contain hard drives, memory, and processprs. Although both desktop computers and supercomputers are equipped with similar processors, their speed and memory sizes are significantly different. A supercomputer has thousands of processors, hundreds of gigabytes of RAM, and hard drives that allow for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of gigabytes of storage space.
Supercomputers were introduced in the 1960s, and for several decades the fastest were made by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation, Cray Research and subsequent companies bearing his name or monogram. The first such machines were highly tuned conventional designs that ran faster than thier more general purpose contemporaries. Through the 1960s, they began to add increasing amounts of parellellism with one to four processors being typical.
If someone says "supercomputer", your mind may jump to Deep Blue, and you wouldn't be alone. IBM's silicon chess wizard defeated grandmaster Gary Kasparov in 1997, cementing it as one of the most famous computers of all time. For years, Deep Blue was the public face of supercomputers, but its hardly the only all-powerful artificial thinker on the planet.
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