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Definition: supercomputer

The fastest computer currently available. Supercomputers are typically used for simulations in petroleum exploration and production, structural analysis, computational fluid dynamics, physics and chemistry, electronic design, nuclear energy research and meteorology.

Years ago, it took a supercomputer to perform real-time animation, but that changed as high-performance desktop computers became capable of doing the job. Today, supercomputers can have millions of processing cores, and their floating point calculations are measured in quadrillions of operations per second (see petaFLOPS). See supercomputer sites and grid computing.