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Size doesn't matter for new supercomputer


(CNN) -- A compact new supercomputer could revolutionize the technology industry, processing information 1,000 times faster than conventional computers.

Conducting billions of calculations at the same time, the machines are also much faster and more versatile than any supercomputers on the market, according to NASA engineers using the so-called hypercomputers.

The new high-performance computers, developed by Star Bridge Systems in Midvale, Utah, replace traditional central processing units with specialty circuit board chips that can reconfigure themselves hundreds or thousands of times a second.

This unique feature maximizes the use of millions of transistors or gates on the processors, unlike traditional processors that use only a fraction of their silicon for most applications.

The Langley Research Center announced this week an agreement to use one of the computers, known as HAL (Hyper Algorithmic Logic)-15. The NASA facility in Hampton, Virginia, conducts research in aeronautics, space technology and atmospheric sciences.

Other customers that will use HAL-15 machines include the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Department of Defense and Hollywood film companies.

Smaller, more compact

Supercomputing rivals possess amazing capabilities, but often take up entire rooms, require constant temperature control and use lots of cables and wires.

The HAL-15 needs no more space than a standard desktop computer and no more electricity than a hair drier.

A Star Bridge Systems representative declined to discuss the price of the HAL-15. But the Langley researchers worked out a pretty nice deal to use one.

"It'll cost us absolutely not one penny," said Langley spokesperson Bill Uher.

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Star Bridge Systems
Langley Research Center

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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