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This week in Switzerland, the BMW Sauber F1 team introduced the world to Albert2, the know-it-all bag of silicon parts it hopes will give it an edge on the tarmac next season. No ordinary pile of sand, this. Albert2 is on the Top-500 list of most powerful supercomputers as Europe's fastest machine. Sporting processors from Intel, with whom the team has a sponsorship deal, Albert2 will take the place of a second wind tunnel — which teams without supercomputers have been building — calculating computational fluid dynamics (COMPFLUDY) problems (on its 10 trillion hands) for aerodynamics development. Under the hood, Albert2 has 256 nodes with two Intel Xeon 5160 dual-core processors each, with main memory is 2,048 GB, and maximum computing power of 12,288 gigaflops — or 12,288,000,000,000 floating-point arithmetic operations per second. BMW says that's like everyone in Munich multiplying two eight-digit numbers every three-and-a-half seconds for an entire year. In other news, BMW-Sauber has laid off the entire population of Munich.

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