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How was this list determined?
The group used the Linpack Benchmark which is a "measure of a computer’s floating-point rate of execution. It is determined by running a computer program that solves a dense system of linear equations. Over the years the characteristics of the benchmark has changed a bit. In fact, there are three benchmarks included in the Linpack Benchmark report." Here's a list of FAQ's about the Linpack Benchmark.
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A member from the IBM install team works on the ASC Sequoia computer. The supercomputer is used for nuclear research including how to prolong the life of older nuclear weapons.
Prior to installation, extra supports were added before Sequoia's installation. The finished machine weighs about the same as 30 adult elephants.