Saturday, December 06, 2008


By The Daily Telegraph
06 Dec 2008 10:30:59 AM IST

World's first personal supercomputer unveiled LONDON: The world's first personal supercomputer, which is 250 times faster than the average PC, has been unveiled. With its £4,000 price tag, the Tesla supercomputer is beyond the reach of most consumers, but is expected to revolutionise the way scientists and medical professionals carry out their work.
The gadget's power will allow doctors to process the results of brain and body scans much more quickly. This would allow them to tell patients within hours instead of days whether they have a tumour.
Scientists also believe that the supercomputers could help them discover cures for diseases, such as cancer and malaria, much more quickly than using traditional research methods.
This is because the device lets them run hundreds of thousands of simulations to create a shortlist of the drugs that are most likely to offer the potential for a cure.
Until now, supercomputers were massive systems made up of thousands of machines taking up entire rooms, which cost millions of pounds to build and maintain.
By contrast, Tesla personal supercomputers will cost between £4,000 and £8,000 and look much like an ordinary PC.
David Kirk, chief scientist at NVIDIA, the American company which has designed the new technology, said: "Pretty much anything that you do on your PC that takes a lot of time can be accelerated with this."
"These supercomputers can improve the time it takes to process information by 1,000 times.
"If you imagine it takes a week to get a result [from running an experiment], you can only do it 52 times a year. If it takes you minutes, you can do it constantly, and learn just as much in a day."
The new computers make innovative use of graphics processing units - a technological breakthrough, which the company claims could bring lightning speeds to the next generation of home computers.
They went on sale to British customers yesterday and will initially be sold to universities and to the scientific and research community.
The PC maker Dell, however, said that it would soon be mass producing them for the general consumer market.
Eric Greffier, a Dell senior executive, said: "Before mobile phones were reserved for the few, now we can't live without them. It will be the same with these supercomputers. They are the building block for the computing of the future."

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