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Japanese nuke boffins buy $1m Compaq super'puter

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Compaq is to sell a $1 million super computer to the Japanese government. Researchers on the AJERI project - a nuclear energy project - are likely to use it to run simulations to aid them in their research.

Typically companies will buy one for research purposes, rather than to beat Gary Kasparov at Chess. For example, the French government recently bought a five-teraflop machine to simulate nuclear explosions so they could stop blowing up Pacific atolls: Imperial College London bought one to conduct Astrophysics research and Novatis has one for genome investigations.

Richard George, Alpha server business manager for the UK and Ireland at Compaq, claims the super computer market is -right now - a very exciting area, with massive growth being driven by the near completion of the first draft of the human genome.

"Now that the human genome has been sequenced, at least it is 99.998 per cent complete, companies are looking at using the data to design new medicines, and they are buying big computers to run the simulations needed for research."

Worldwide, supercomputers account for about 25 per cent of the company's revenues, according to George. This estimate values supercomputer sales to the bioinformatics industry at around $2.4 billion anually and said that it expects sales to grow 75 percent annually. ®

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