The people behind the $300 million Blue Waters supercomputer project at the University of Illinois are celebrating this week. The computer is now up and running. It is one of the world's fastest supercomputers and can maintain a speed standard known as a petaflop, which allows unusually complex calculations. In late 2011 it looked like the project might never be finished. Original builder IBM pulled out and that set off a scramble. Thom Dunning is director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the university. He admits there were real worries the project might stop. But Cray Inc. took over and Blue Waters is now essentially complete. It's running about 30 projects exploring everything from earthquakes to space satellites.
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