Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
A supercomputer is a computer that works thousands of times faster than the best desktop personal computer. It does this by combining many processors together so that they can all work on different parts of a problem at the same time. People use supercomputers when they want millions of detailed results very quickly. These monster machines are now at work on all kinds of things, from predicting storms to designing next year’s cars.
Supercomputers can predict the track of a spiralling hurricane in time to warn people of its approach. The giant machines are fed with thousands of atmospheric measurements to produce pictures showing how the weather will develop over the next few hours. Changes in a small part of the atmosphere can have a big effect on the weather. Doing the maths fast enough to keep ahead of events can be done only by a supercomputer.