THIS YEAR MARKS THE 100TH anniversary of the discovery of the electron by British physicist Joseph J. Thomson. But even a century later, after the world has been transformed by electronics, the electron is still an enigma: How can it have mass, as it does under some conditions, yet not occupy space under other conditions? Among the Web sites celebrating the continuing conundrum: http://www.iop.org/Physics/Electron /Exhibition and http://www.aip.org/history/electron.

-- Intel Corp. has another microprocessor challenger on its hands. Centaur Technology Inc., an Austin (Tex.) unit of Integrated Device Technology Inc., has developed a Pentium-class chip that's 40% smaller than comparable Pentiums. Since silicon size is a major factor affecting costs, Centaur's IDT-C6 chip could put intense price pressure on Intel. Samples of the chip will be available in July.

-- On another roost, Intel continues to rule indisputably. The supercomputer it is installing at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico just broke its own world speed record: 1.34 trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops). That's 25% better than the mark posted last December. The computer harnesses an army of 9,200 Pentium Pro chips, all marching in concert.

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