Claims about massive computing prowess are always best taken with a pinch of salt, so it's with that in mind that we digest the news that NEC's 'Earth Simulator' supercomputer has attained the world's top computing efficiency.

The Japanese system has reportedly achieved sustained performance of 122.4 teraflops and computing efficiency of 93.38 per cent on the LINPACK benchmark.

Global warming

What that means in more tangible terms is that the Earth Simulator can better process data on global warming, pollution and hurricanes for its owners at Japan's Earth-science agency.

NEC's press release explains that the system is made up of 160 separate computing nodes with large-scale shared memory, high speed data transfer between the CPU and memory and an ultra high speed network connection. We'll take their word for it.