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The social limits of speed: development and use of supercomputers

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2 Author(s)
Elzen, B. ; Working Group on Sci., Technol., & Society, Nijmegen Univ., Netherlands ; Mackenzie, Donald

This article describes the development of supercomputers over the past three decades in conjunction with the social relations surrounding the development and use of these machines. In early designs of supercomputers, the goal was to achieve the highest possible speed "at all cost"/spl minus/that is, without worrying about compatibility with previous machines. The first customers of these computers were national (defense) laboratories and large scientific institutions. Especially over the past decade, however, large industrial corporations have also started to use supercomputers. This expansion of the customer base subsequently affected the design process, as a wider range of customer requirements has to be satisfied and speed considerations are no longer unproblematically paramount.<>

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing, IEEE  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 1 )