According to John Ptak at Ptak Science Books, the first use of the term “super computer” dates from 1929. The name of the machine was “Packard” (after the luxury car), but rather than talking about its horse power, its capabilities were measured in terms of mathematicians. Installed at Columbia University in 1931, this is what the equivalent of 100 mathematicians looked liked:
Fast forward eight decades: The first four racks of Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia were delivered on January 12th. When complete it will be the worlds largest supercomputer at 20 petaflops. How many mathematicians are in a petaflop?