Kansas State University's (KSU's) Beocat is a cluster of 122 servers that work together to form Kansas' largest academic research supercomputer. "It's easier to think of something as a single machine, so it's called a supercomputer rather than what it really is, which is lots of smaller computers that can work together," says KSU freshman Adam Tygart, Beocat's administrator.
KSU professor Daniel Andresen, who oversees Beocat, says supercomputers offer a new paradigm for researchers. "For example, a K-State researcher in statistics got results back in a few hours for investigations that would have taken more than two months on her desktop," Andresen says. "This was a tremendous advantage in trying to get research accomplished and published before her competition."
Beocat supports a variety of research projects, including a security effort focused on cracking passwords and a project that involves simulating the ability of a drug to penetrate a cellular membrane. Tygart says he can manage the system on his own because of its stability and good design. "I believe this job will allow me to understand the challenges that face many computer scientists with respect to the changing face of computing," he says. "The problems that I face on a supercomputer now are those that we will see on a personal computer later."
From Kansas State University News
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