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Is that everything?

Is that everything?

Every now and again new processors appear on the market that make everything that existed before them seem slow in comparison. This type of contest between individual CPUs must leave the scientists of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group (T-6) smiling to themselves. While computing power in the desktop segment is still expressed in terms of Gigaflops, they are already counting in Teraflops.

Their server cluster, the "Space Simulator", consists of 294 Shuttle XPC Barebones SS51G computers, each equipped with standard components such as a 2.53 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor, 1,024 MB RAM and a 80GB hard disk. The special "compact format" of this 294 node server cluster allows them save on space, as it only requires the area normally needed to accommodate 144 nodes. And the financial side is also comparably economical, with the cost of an individual node remaining at under US$1,000.

The resulting data capacity is truly impressive. On the day of delivery in September 2002, the cluster achieved a total of 0.6651 Teraflops and was placed 85th in a list of the fastest 500 computers in the world.

But, who really needs that kind of performance? Well, the scientists of the T-6 group use the "Space Simulator" in the Los Alamos National Laboratory to run astrophysics simulations.

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