iPad 2 vs. Cray 2 supercomputer: Who wins?

The New York Times’ John Markoff reports that the new iPad 2 packs the computing power of the $17 million, hot tub-sized Cray 2 supercomputer of 1985.

Citing Jack Dongarra, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and one of the scientists who tracks the world’s fastest supercomputers, Markoff reports that the iPad 2 will have a Linpack benchmark of between 1.5 and 1.65 gigaflops (one gigaflop is a billion floating-point operations/sec). Such speed would have ensured the iPad 2 a spot on the list of world’s fastest supercomputers through 1994, Markoff wrote.

In June 1994, for example, an Intel XP/A4E machine with 48 cores at the IRISA research institute in France clocked a Linpack score of 1.5 gigaflops, good for No. 299 on the Top500.org’s list http://www.top500.org/list/1994/06/300 of the fastest known computers.

By November 1995, last place on the Top 500 list was held by a Cray Y-MP C94/364 machine at the Environmental Protection Agency, with a score of 2.5 gigaflops.

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