Issue No. 04 - April (1974 vol. 7)
D. J. Theis , Aerospace Corporation
“Supercomputer” is a generic term which could apply to various machines depending on the criteria used. However, only a few computers today have the following characteristics and/or capabilities: • The machine can directly access very large amounts of memory (i.e., 10M-100M bits) and execute meaningful scalar instructions at very high speeds (i.e., 10M-100M instructions per second). • The high precision computations execute in a Floating Point Arithmetic Unit with either 60- or 64-bit data word formats. • Special hardware implementation techniques are employed to obtain better memory bandwidth and simultaneous I/O operations. • Within the CPU organization of these machines, pipelined execution and look-ahead hardware are used to achieve very fast arithmetic operation times (much less than 1 μsec for 64-bit operand multiplication). • An operational supercomputer system costs over $10 million today; the price varies depending on the peripherals and auxiliary storage devices included and on the accounting procedures used in costing the installation.
D. J. Theis, "Vector supercomputers," in Computer, vol. 7, no. , pp. 52-61, 1974.