When computer scientist Jack Dongarra traveled to China in May to see the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, he was ready to be impressed. And the machine, built by the National University of Defense Technology, in Changsha, didn’t disappoint. By early June, Tianhe-2 had demonstrated a peak speed of 33.86 petaflops: some 34 million billion floating point operations per second, far more than what it needed to place first on June’s Top500, a biannual list of the fastest supercomputers, compiled and adjudicated by Dongarra and his colleagues.

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The State of the Transistor in 3 Charts

In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird

3 min read
A photo of 3 different transistors.
iStockphoto
LightGreen

The most obvious change in transistor technology in the last 75 years has been just how many we can make. Reducing the size of the device has been a titanic effort and a fantastically successful one, as these charts show. But size isn’t the only feature engineers have been improving.

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