Mobile phones have come a very long way in a short space of time. They've gone from being very simple devices to what we now know as smartphones, which are devices that most people simply can't be without. This is because these mobile devices facilitate near enough everything the user desires, from getting weather reports all over the world from Dark Sky and booking a holiday via Trivago to playing bingo at mFortune and posting pics at Instagram. A lot of smartphone owners are likely to have heard of supercomputers, which are now classed as vintage, but could they still topple smartphones of today? Or, are smartphones far too advanced?
Our first stop when it comes to use deciding who the winner of this battle is sees us head back to 1969, 50 years ago. It was at this time when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are said to have landed Apollo 11 on the moon. Dr Michio Kaku, who is an American theoretical physicist and futurist, said in one of his more recent books that "Today, your cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon." These computers were responsible for helping guide spacecrafts while in outer space, but it already seems that smartphones have gained the upper hand on the supercomputers of that era.
Discounting the supercomputers of NASA and 1969, we fast forward six years or so to 1975, when a new supercomputer by the name of Cray-1 came on the scene. Cray-1 brought to the table a hell of a lot more power than anything ever seen before, producing rates of up to 80MHz. However, even an outdated iPhone such as the 5S can outperform Cray-1, and it could also outdo the Cray-2 which was the world's fastest and most powerful supercomputer up until 1990. Taking GFLOPS rating as an example, while the Cray-2 produced up to 1.9 GFLOPS, the 5S can do around 77 GFLOPS, a huge difference.
Advancing closer to the modern day, a supercomputer became somewhat famous when it beat chess world champion Garry Kasparov over six games. This is what many would describe as the final vintage supercomputer to make a name for itself, and while it does stack up better than the others mentioned in this article, older models of the Samsung's premium S range such as the S5 simply outdo it when it comes to speed and power.
So, rest assured, as a smartphone owner, even if you don't have one of the latest or top of the range models, you're likely holding a device which packs a much bigger punch than a vintage supercomputer. Who would have thought that something so small in comparison could produce a lot more power?
With technology continuing to improve and evolve at such an impressive rate, it's very hard to see any supercomputer that is given the vintage tag having enough under the hood to rival smartphones for speed or power.