The emergence of powerful, always-on cloud utilities has transformed how consumers interact with information technology, enabling video streaming, intelligent personal assistants, and the sharing of content. Businesses, too, have benefited from the cloud, outsourcing much of their information technology to cloud services. Science, however, has not fully exploited the advantages of the cloud. Could scientific discovery be accelerated if mundane chores were automated and outsourced to the cloud?
The development of parallel processing, with the attendant technology of advanced software engineering, VLSI circuits, and artificial intelligence, now allows high-performance computer systems to reach the speeds necessary to meet the challenge of future complex scientific and commercial applications. This collection of articles documents the design of one such computer, a single instruction multiple data stream (SIMD) class supercomputer with 16,834 processing units capable of over 6 billion 8 bit operations per second.