In 1997, ASCI Red appeared on the Top500 as the first teraflops machine in history. It held that spot for seven lists, a record that remains unbroken decades later. Using thousands of Intel microprocessors, it offered additional evidence that massively parallel machines based on “off the shelf” technology would dominate supercomputing of the future – a trend that was not universally endorsed in 1997. It was also not hard to find skeptics that claimed we would never need a petaflops of computing power, and many saw teraflops as only needed for military needs.
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