OK, I'm largely repeating something that's already on /. but I thought it was a really cool and inspiring story and deserved being told here:
As some of you may know, it is illegal for US companies to export supercomputer technology to countries like India. Because of fears that supercomputers could be used to aid terrorism and help rogue nations (India a rogue state? Good one Ashcroft!), machines exceeding 190k MTOPS can't be exported to those nations. They fail to remember that the early US nuclear bombs were all designed on paper without the aid of computers, and even the space program used computers dramatically less powerful than the average modern desktop PC.
So India simply went ahead and built its own TFLOP computer, the PARAM Padma — currently exceeding 500k MTOPS — which is scalable on up to 16 TFLOPS (compared to the fastest US supercomputer, at about 10 TFLOPS). Not only that, but the computer uses relatively cheap off-the-shelf components and is dramatically less expensive than US competition (and as a result is being bought by universities and corporations in Russia, Canada, Germany, and so on).
The future is here, and it's global. Western nations can't hold back developing nations forever — technology will equalize around the world, and trade sanctions simply result in the market eventually being dominated by non-Western companies. Look at history — a few hundred years ago America was a developing nation, and look how it trounced Europe on most levels over the past hundred years. Don't think it won't happen again, either from South America or Asia… of course, their computer does run on IBM chips!
…but then there's always the Dragon.
Now I should really go and find some more extension cord and get the second set of speakers set up… And drag the BBQs back to the pit and all that fun stuff. I think I have my “must do” tasks complete so I can take a load off for the rest of the day.