Wednesday, September 4 12:01 AM EST

Fujitsu Ships World's Fastest, Cutest Supercomputer

By Reinhard Gantar

How cute can you get? If you address Dr Akira Goto with this question the answer is "Very." Dr Goto is the principal designer of Fujitsu's XP10K, the world's fastest massively parallel supercomputer, leaving the Earth-Simulator in the dust by a factor of 3 -- crunching numbers at almost 100 TFlops (Trillion Floating Point Operations Per Second).

Goto's machine is not only the fastest, but also the cutest. Each of the 1024 cupboard-sized compartments is painted entirely in pink and sports a different Hello Kitty-theme. The large, 13' x 30' operator console is decorated with purple, lilac and pink beads and runs short Kitty-cartoon movies when idle.

Kitty Power

"When honoring the invitation for tenders from the U.S. Department of Defense, we were competing with IBM, General Electric and HP reports Dr Goto. "We had to think of something really special and attractive to be short-listed, so we deployed our uniquely Japanese intellectual property as a winning selling proposition. It worked out very well, we scored the lucrative contract."

The $26.5 billion ubermachine will be used by the U.S. Pentagon for chemical warfare-simulation, assessment of thermonuclear holocaust-scenarios and virtual prototyping of the new ultra-secret F-47 "flying fortress".

"We couldn't resist,", said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, "That kitty is just so adorable we had to get one, in fact I got one for my daughter too."

Citing a growing popularity of Hello Kitty merchandise among road construction workers, Fujitsu has also licensed the Hello Kitty characters for it's heavy machinery division and plans to unveil a Hello Kitty road grater and a Badtz Maru asphalt grinder in 2003.

NEC has reportedly entered talks with Nintendo about building an even faster supercomputer based on the Pokemon Jigglypuff.

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