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The Cray-2, the world's fastest supercomputer from 1985 to 1989

A supercomputer is a computer with great speed and memory. This kind of computer can do jobs faster than any other computer of its generation. They are usually thousands of times faster than ordinary personal computers made at that time. Supercomputers can do arithmetic jobs very fast, so they are used for weather forecasting, code-breaking, genetic analysis and other jobs that need many calculations. When new computers of all classes become more powerful, new ordinary computers are made with powers that only supercomputers had in the past, while new supercomputers continue to outclass them.

Electrical engineers make supercomputers that link many thousands of microprocessors.

How it works

Supercomputer types are: shared memory, distributed memory and array. Supercomputer that has shared memory is developed by using a parallel handling and pipelining concept. Supercomputer that has distributed memory consist of many(about 100~10000) nodes. CRAY series of CRAYRESERCH and VP 2400/40, NEC의 SX-3 of HUCIS is shared memory type. nCube 3, iPSC/860, AP 1000, NCR 3700, Paragon XP/S, CM-5 are distributed memory type.


Array type computer ILIAC started at 1972 and since that, CF-11, CM-2, Mas Par MP-2(that has array type) is developed. Lately, array type supercomputer is beginning to make a mark. And movements that use physically separated memory like one shared memory bring T3D, KSR1, and Tera Computer.

Supercomputing centers, organizations


  • DEISA Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications, a facility integrating eleven European supercomputing centers.
  • NAREGI Japanese NAtional REsearch Grid Initiative involving several supercomputer centers
  • TeraGrid, a national facility integrating nine US supercomputing centers


Specific machines, general-purpose

Specific machines, special-purpose