Most of us would be remembering the chess game between IBM’s Deepblue and Garry Kasparov in 1996. This chess computer has become the first computer system to defeat a world chess champion in a match under standard tournament time controls.
Introduced in 1960’s, Supercomputers are the computers with fastest processing power. They are the most advanced, sophisticated and expensive computers capable of processing trillions of instructions in a second. CDC6600 is considered as the first Supercomputer designed by Seymour Cray in 1964. Mainframes are large computers with great processing speed and storage capabilities. Introduced in 1950’2s, Mainframes are serving the critical back end data processing, banking, ERP, airline industry etc for the last 50 + years.
- Mainframe uses its processing power to execute multiple programs concurrently.
- For Mainframe, performance is measured in terms of MIPS (Millions of Instructions per Second).
- Mainframes undertake simple computational task that involves huge amount of external data.
- Mainframes execute broader tasks like critical back end data processing, data warehousing etc.
- A Supercomputer utilizes all its processing speed and power in executing a few programs as fast as possible.
- The performance of Supercomputer is measured in terms of Flop/s (Floating Point Operations per Second)
- Supercomputer executes complicated computations and utilizes large memory.
- Supercomputers are purpose built for tasks like simulation, modelling, research etc.
Where are supercomputers used?
Supercomputers are used for highly complex computing purposes like weather forecasting, calculations in fluid dynamics, nuclear research, animated graphics etc. Scientific research organizations use super computers for their highly calculation intensive tasks and bulk data processing, which would take years when processed in a normal computing platform.
HP’s latest Supercomputer with 172.60 TeraFlops is one of the current top supercomputers in India. Param Cluster supercomputer by CDAC comes next and IBM’s Blue Gene Solution comes third. In India, ISRO and IISC are working together now to develop world’s fastest supercomputer by 2017.
Apart from Mainframe computers and Supercomputers, IBM is doing research in a new stream called quantum computing which is faster than supercomputing. This computing uses computer whose the transistors are so small and the computer is working with atoms and molecules. A quantum computer would be capable of solving millions of calculations at once – and able to crack any computer code on Earth.
The recent advancements in high performance computing systems are expected to find feasible solutions for challenges related to energy management, fraud detection, antiterrorism, medical research etc. The big data problem, ie, where the large quantity of unstructured data that does not fit to the current formats of RDBMS is also expected to find a solution with future developments in the computing technology.