World's fastest vector computer goes live

University researchers allowed to play with NEC's new toy

Since we reported a year ago on the latest supercomputer from NEC in Japan, not only has the company gone and improved it, but it has also managed to make its first sale of the behemoth number cruncher.

The first installation of the ground-breaking SX-9 vector supercomputer will be at Sendai's Tohoku University, where it will be used to work on complex research problems in environmental simulation, nanotechnology, aeronautics and space engineering.

With a peak performance that allows the 16-node system to touch 26.2 Tflops, the university is clearly hoping its researchers can come up with work of some real commercial value. Considering the SX-9 system is costing the college ¥3 million (£12,500) a month, they might want to get their skates on.