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The Social Limits of Speed: The Development and Use of Supercomputers
Spring 1994 (vol. 16 no. 1)
pp. 46-61

This article describes the development of supercomputers over the past three decades in conjunction with the social relations surrounding development and use of these machines. In early designs of supercomputers, the goal was to achieve the highest possible speed "at all cost" - that is, without worrying about compatibility with previous machines. The first customers of these computers were national (defense) laboratories and large scientific institutions. Especially over the past decade, however, large industrial corporations have also started to use supercomputers. This expansion of the customer base subsequently affected the design process, as a wider range of customer requirements has to be satisfied and speed considerations are no longer unproblematically paramount.

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Boelie Elzen, Donald MacKenzie, "The Social Limits of Speed: The Development and Use of Supercomputers," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 46-61, Spring 1994, doi:10.1109/85.251854
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