daveschroeder writes "The November Top 500 supercomputer list has been published at SC2004. Topping the charts is IBM and the US Department of Energy's 'BlueGene/L DD2' beta system, at 70.72 TFlops, followed by NASA's 'Columbia' at 51.87.TFlops. For the first time in several publications of this list, Japan's Earth Simulator is no longer in the number one slot, falling to third. Virginia Tech's 'System X' Xserve G5 cluster, while 20% faster than the original cluster that debuted at number 3 last November, has fallen to number 7 due to the new entries, but remains the fastest supercomputer at an academic institution. Here's an excellent cost comparison (Google cache) of the top machines ('System X' is significantly cheaper than anything else in the top 20, not to mention cheaper than many things far below it in performance)."
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