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A computer or array of computers that act as one collective machine capable of processing enormous amounts of data. Supercomputers are used for very complex jobs such as nuclear research or forecasting weather patterns.

The picture below shows a supercomputer at the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory; the Linux-based system is composed of nearly 2,000 processors. Courtesy: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Super computer

The first official supercomputer was the CDC 6600, which was released in 1964. However, the idea of supercomputers began in the 1920s, when IBM tabulators were used at Columbia University.

Also see: Cloud computing, Computer, Cray, Mainframe, MPP, Network terms, Server, Server farm