Decades after Seymour Cray developed what is widely believed to be the world’s first supercomputer, CDC 6600 (opens in a new tab), an arms race has begun in the high-performance computing (HPC) community. The goal: to increase productivity by any means and at any cost.

Thanks to advances in computing, storage, networking, and software, the performance of leading systems has increased one trillion times since the discovery of the CDC 6600 in 1964, from millions of floating-point operations per second (megaFLOPS) to quintillion (exaFLOPS).