The fastest type of computer. Supercomputers are very expensive and are employed for specialized applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations. For example, weather forecasting requires a supercomputer. Other uses of supercomputers include animated graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, and petroleum exploration. The chief difference between a supercomputer and a mainframe is that a supercomputer channels all its power into executing a fewprograms as fast as possible, whereas a mainframe uses its power to execute many programs concurrently.
Mainframes are often approximately measured in millions of instructions per second (MIPS), but supercomputers are measured in floating point operations per second (FLOPS) and more recently by traversed edges per second or TEPS. Examples of integer operations include moving data around in memory or checking values. Floating point operations are mostly addition, subtraction, and multiplication with enough digits of precision to model continuous phenomena such as weather prediction and nuclear simulations. In terms of computational ability, supercomputers are more powerful. Mainframes are built to be reliable for transaction processing as it is commonly understood in the business world: a commercial exchange of goods, services, or money. A typical transaction, as defined by the Transaction Processing Performance Council, would include the updating to a database system for such things as inventory control (goods), airline reservations (services), or banking (money). A transaction could refer to a set of operations including disk read/writes, operating system calls, or some form of data transfer from one subsystem to another. This operation doesn't count toward the processing power of a computer. Transaction processing is not exclusive to mainframes but also used in the performance of...
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