There are fast computers, there are superfast computers, and there are those that make the rest of the silicon-sporting pack look like snails.
We're talking about the supercomputers, the ones that satiate the hardcore programming needs of large institutions. The current king of the hill? The supercomputer called Titan, which was just crowned as the world's fastest hitting with an otherworldy processing speed of 17.59 petaflops a second. That's quadrillions of calculations per second! To give you a better perspective, today's top-tier consumer notebooks will be lucky to manage 700 gigaflops a second. We're no math majors but we think it goes something like this: 1,000 gigaflops = 1 teraflop, 1,000 teraflops = 1 petaflop. Whoa!
But of course, the comparison is a bit unfair, to say the least. After all, the Titan supercomputer (which is based in the US of A) comes with over half a million processors and over 18,000 GPUs (graphics-processing unit). Now that's power under the hood, a hood that's, well, pretty big since Titan is about the size of an office room or two.
Now where will all those oomph go? Think stuff like weather forecasting, satellite mapping, and nuclear research. Yep, this one's made for things much, much bigger than Facebook, Diablo III, and Skyrim. Our regular desktop PCs and lappies can take care of those.
Click here for the top 500 supercomputers in the world.