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Europe's fastest supercomputer boots up

IBM's ``MareNostrum'' is the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world and the fastest of any installed in a government-owned research centre accessible to outside investigators.

Europe's fastest supercomputer, which can make 40 trillion calculations per second, booted up for the first time at a research centre in Barcelona.

The ``MareNostrum,'' built by IBM, boasts 40 teraflops of speed. It can make more calculations in one second than a human pecking at a calculator could make in 10 million years.

Its memory is equal to the combined memories of nearly 20,000 personal computers, and its storage system has a capacity of 233 terabytes, the equivalent of the information in 29 million books.

MareNostrum is owned by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, a consortium of the Spanish and Catalan governments and Polytechnical University of Catalonia.

It looks like a series of joined cabinets and is housed in a chapel on the university campus. The computing centre press office declined to disclose the computer's cost.

It will be used for research in computer architecture, aerodynamics, biology and genetics, the centre said.

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