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Most beautiful supercomputer?

Courtesy Barcelona Supercomputing Center - www.bsc.es

In a recent GridBriefing, Manisha Lalloo of e-Science Talk wrote that when the Barcelona government needed a location for one of the fastest computers in Europe, it decided to put its new "Barcelona Supercomputing Center" in a converted 19th-century chapel named MareNostrum, seen above.

Hmm. Maybe it's time to have a beauty contest for supercomputers?

Lalloo subsequently wrote that other potential contenders could be:

• The US Department of Energy's Jaguar, a Cray XT5 housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (number two on the Top500 supercomputers).

• TeraGrid's Kraken, the National Institute for Computational Sciences and TeraGrid's largest supercomputer (number eight on the Top500).

• The University of Chicago's Beagle, a 150 teraflop, 18,000-core, Cray XE6 supercomputer, named after Charles Darwin's ship. (Scroll to bottom of their homepage).

"Though to my mind MareNostrum still comes top of the list," she wrote.

For a larger, different version of the supercomputer facilities in Barcelona, in which you make out the stained glass windows of the interior, click here. You can also see the red plush chairs of the marble balcony where visitors can view the computer as if in a movie theater. Or the exterior, which gives little hint of what lies inside. There is also an image gallery, in which you can be directed to the many other still photos - and videos, too.

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