Ik ben ook wel met IT bezig, en me nooit verdiept in de vele definities van een supercomputer. Een greep:
Supercomputer, any of a class of extremely powerful computers. The term is commonly applied to the fastest high-performance systems available at any given time. Such computers have been used primarily for scientific and engineering work requiring exceedingly high-speed computations.
Extremely fast data processing-oriented computer whose number crunching power is (presently) measured in hundreds of billions of floating point operations (gigaflops). Supercomputers rely on parallel-processing technology and can use only a few but very complex programs in modeling economy behavior, nuclear reactions, meteorological and neurological phenomenon, etc.
As the name implies, a supercomputer is no ordinary computer. It is a high performance computing machine designed to have extremely fast processing speeds. Supercomputers have various applications, such as performing complex scientific calculations, modeling simulations, and rendering large amounts of 3D graphics. They may also be built to simply showcase the leading edge of computing technology. If you are hoping to have a supercomputer on your desk, you may be out of luck. Supercomputers are typically several times the size of a typical desktop computer and require far more power. A supercomputer may also consist of a series of computers, which may fill an entire room.
Website van Hewlett Packard:
The term "supercomputing" refers to the processing of massively complex or data-laden problems using the concentrated compute resources of multiple computer systems working in parallel (i.e. a "supercomputer"). Supercomputing involves a system working at the maximum potential performance of any computer, typically measured in Petaflops. Sample use cases include genomics, astronomical calculations, and so forth.
A supercomputer is any mechanism whose performance capability, either by design or by default, enables it to compete -- effectively or otherwise -- in the market for functionality and information. There have been times throughout history where handfuls of spare processors, cobbled together with homemade substrates, produced supercomputers. And because they were super, they qualified.
Today, supercomputing performance cannot be achieved accidentally. It must be designed willfully, intentionally, and with a modicum of tolerance for both corporate and international politics.
To be a supercomputer in today's market is to be something other than cobbled together from off-the-shelf parts. A modern system is intentionally architected for a single purpose: Parallel processing. This is not the same as multitasking, where a scheduling mechanism juggles multiple applications, adhering to some manner of concurrency.