Using software to tie together those desktops into a single ‘grid,’ it assembled, in effect, a supercomputer to run its analytical software.
It costs less to make a cluster computer out of a group of personal computers or workstations than to buy a supercomputer to perform enormous mathematical tasks.
This configuration can achieve supercomputer processing rates at a fragment of the supercomputer 's price tag.
As such, scientists from around the country can access the supercomputer for research through a competitive proposal process.
The new charges relate to Unix's ability to turn a cluster of PCs into a supercomputer powerful enough to use to develop nuclear missiles.
The interesting thing about a supercomputer with a lot of processors in it is that it is, in some ways, no different to a cluster of computers, communicating through a network, and working together on a single application.
A custom supercomputer uses processors that have been specialized for scientific computing.
The idea of a virtual supercomputer , powered by the spare processor cycles and bandwidth of thousands of PCs, is anything but new.
With so-called grid computing, even personal computers can serve as a virtual supercomputer if enough of them are linked together.
However, this number is still theoretical, and because there is often a substantial gap between theory and practice, supercomputers must complete a series of calculations known as the Linpack benchmark to qualify for a chart ranking.