Amazon's cloud supercomputer is the 42nd fastest around

Supercomputers have been getting ranked on their performance for a long time now. The list of the fastest surfaces each year and often it changes from printing to printing as new supercomputers are deployed around the world for scientific and educational purposes. Generally, the machines are in place at government labs and universities and are only for use by the staff at those locations.

Amazon has a virtual supercomputer that is on the list of the world's fastest machines. The big difference between the Amazon cloud supercomputer and the other machines on the list is that Amazon's machine doesn't actually exist. The cloud supercomputer runs on the Elastic Compute Cloud that Amazon deployed, and the company provides access to the virtual supercomputer when it is needed.

The big difference between the Amazon virtual supercomputer, that at its core still uses real clusters like the other machines on the list, and the traditional machines on the list is that the Amazon offering runs on a virtual layer. This supercomputer is also interesting because anyone can use it. The crux of this is that the Amazon cloud infrastructure is so large that the company can field one of the world's fastest supercomputers at will. That is impressive to say the least. Using the virtual supercomputer is cheap too compared to building your own. A virtual machine set up for a pharmaceutical firm with 30,000 processor cores cost $1,279 an hour to run. The costs of installing and operating a dedicated supercomputer are much higher than that.

[via Wired]