Virginia Tech is to offer its supercomputer technology in kit-form early next year.

The college's Big Mac supercomputer cluster uses 1,100 2GHz Power Mac G5s, is capable of 17.6 trillion floating point operations per second, and can store up to 176 terabytes (17.6 million gigabytes) of data.

A university spokeswoman told EE Times: "The Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties unit is working out licensing and patenting issues before the technology will be offered.”

She added: "Several traditional supercomputer users, including the National Security Agency and the Argonne weapons laboratory, have expressed interest in the technology."

Big Mac has just taken its place among the top-performing supercomputers in the world, and, according to Apple's Tim Cook "the performance they are getting is incredible and the installation has been ranked number three in the world".

He added: "Ranked above it are things that cost tens-of-millions of dollars, and frankly you wouldn't see anything with Windows above it."