Build Your Own Supercomputer

Hey, Gang, Let’s Make Our Own Supercomputer

Some class science projects get out of hand.

That is certainly the case with Patrick Miller's graduate course in do-it-yourself supercomputing at the University of San Francisco. On April 3, his students plan to assemble the first "flash mob supercomputer" in the school gym.

While brainstorming about how to build a home-brew computer powerful enough to be added to a list of the world's 500 fastest computers, Mr. Miller and his students, along with Gregory D. Benson, an associate professor of computer science, came up with the idea of an electronic barn-raising. They decided to build on the concept of flash mobs, the sudden Internet-organized gatherings with no particular purpose that became an unlikely fad last summer.

I like the fact that after they make their try to join the list of the top 500 supercomputers, the computer will be reorganized to serve as the host of a giant multiplayer video game tournament.