Britain's new fastest supercomputer makes its ominous debut

It's always tough to keep track of the fastest supercomputers around at any given moment, but according to Reuters, the rather imposing block of machines pictured above is now at the top of the heap in Britain, and at least near the top in all of Europe. Dubbed HECToR (for High-End Computing Terascale Resource), the Cray-built rig packs the equivalent power of 12,000 desktop PCs, or enough to perform some 63 million calculations per second, which'll apparently be used to study everything from climate change to new medicines -- or, as the researchers responsible for the computer put it, "push forward the boundaries of knowledge." In related news, Engadget's Folding@home team is still accepting new members -- nudge nudge, British friends.

[Thanks, Matt]