The High-End Computing Terascale Resource, or Hector, is Britain's most powerful super computer, and it has just received a £52m funding boost from the government. Due to be built in 2007, the super computer will be faster than any other in Europe, and will be owned by the Research Councils of the UK. It will be used to tackle all sorts of research problems, including climate change and atomic structures.

The new supercomputer could run at speeds of up to 100 teraflops and will be able to carry out up to 100 trillion calculations every second, 100,000 times faster than an ordinary computer.

However, it is unlikely to ever be pushed to its limits, achievable only for short bursts of time that are too small for scientists to run their programs properly.