Cray Research has launched the world's first commercially available computer that performs over one trillion calculations a second (one teraflop) - the T3E-900.
Unveiled last week, the successor to the T3E parallel processing system performs at 1.8 teraflops and runs on up to 2,048 processors with a clock speed of 450MHz.
Cray parent Silicon Graphics is positioning the supercomputer at the top end of its workstation and server line.
'Teraflop-level computing is important to our customers in government, university, research and industrial markets to handle the next generation of high-resolution and high-fidelity simulation problems,' said Cray president Robert Ewald.
He said the T3E-900 could carry out seismic tasks in the oil industry that currently take three months of computation in just a few days. It offers up to 50 per cent better performance than the T3E and 25 per cent better price/performance.
Forest Baskett, chief technology officer at Silicon Graphics, said shipments will start in Q1 1997 with small configurations priced from $500,000.
The prototype MTA multi-threaded architecture supercomputer from Tera Computer of Seattle should be unveiled next month. The firm claims it will run on 700-plus processors and run Cray or Unix code virtually unaltered.
But observers question Tera's ability to challenge Cray, as it has used $33 million in funds in the past nine months and its development is several years late.
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