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University of Florida scientists build a faster supercomputer for spacecraft

Cyrus Farivar

Haven't you ever sat in your space shuttle/module/station and said to yourself, "Gee, I wish that we had faster computers like those terrestrial scientists do." No? Well our actual astronauts apparently have. See, while you've got your current dual-core (soon to be quad- or oct-core) desktop PC, computers in space have to endure a great deal more stress -- you know, like that whole launching into space thing, not to mention cosmic radiation, and a whole host of other rugged requirements, which takes a toll on what processors can be used. Engineers at the University of Florida (including Alan George, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, pictured at right) and Honeywell Aerospace announced late this week that a new supercomputer 100 times faster than any current space-bound computer (that's 20 processors at a combined power of 100 gigaflops) is under development. If all goes according to plan, it'll get hitched to an unmanned NASA rocket aboard a test mission in 2009.

[Via Roland Piquepaille]

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