Last Minute Supercomputer Tour

OSCER not Oscar!

OSCER not Oscar!

Henry Neeman, the Director of the OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research (OSCER), sent us the following announcement.  If you didn’t make the tour last year, then you should go and check it out.  If you can’t make it today, Dr. Neeman leads tours every month or so, and we’ll let you know when we hear of the next one.

SUMMARY:

Supercomputing tour TODAY Tue Sep 8 4:00pm at Merrick Computing Center.

DETAILS:

If you haven’t taken a supercomputing tour yet, then I strongly
urge you to do so.

In our experience, people who have taken the tour understand
supercomputing *much* better than people who haven’t.

Location:

The tour will be at Merrick Computer Center, a one story orange
brick building at the corner of Newton and Westheimer on OU’s
North Base. The address is 1610 Newton Dr.

Simplest (but slightly longer) directions from campus:

Take Boyd westbound to Berry (toward I-35). Turn right (northbound)
onto Berry, cross Main and Robinson, then after crossing Robinson
go a few blocks north to the T-intersection at Westheimer. Turn
right (eastbound) onto Westheimer (with Robinson on your right) and
go a few blocks to the T-intersection at Newton. Merrick will be on
your left.

Shortest (but slightly more complicated) directions from campus:

Take Boyd westbound (toward I-35) to Flood. Turn right (northbound)
onto Flood, cross Main, then at Robinson turn left (westbound) onto
Robinson, then *IMMEDIATELY* turn right (northbound) onto Newton.
Go a few blocks until you come to intersection at Westheimer.
Merrick will be on the far left corner.

Parking:

Park in either the front (south, Robinson-facing) lot or the
back (north) lot. Parking is free.

Come around to the front (south, Robinson-facing) entrance. We’ll
meet in the lobby and then go together to the machine room for
the tour.

Bus:

The Alameda East/N21 Green CART route departs the South Oval every
hour on the hour and reaches the corner of Berry and Westheimer at
roughly 26 minutes after the hour. On arrival, walk eastbound (with
Robinson on your right) a few blocks to Merrick (on your left):

http://cart.ou.edu/green.html

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5 thoughts on “Last Minute Supercomputer Tour

  1. I wonder with the increasing speed and utility of internet connections how useful supercomputers are compared to running a parallel computer with tons of less powerful machines. I don’t have any knowledge of computer science, though, so can anybody point me in the right direction to start looking into it?

  2. I truly regret not being able to attend the first tour! I hope to find time to go to a subsequent trip– I find the subject fascinating, even though I am rather technologically inept. ^_^

  3. Travis,

    In fact, the OU supercomputer is exactly that: thousands of desktop type computers all networked together. The operating system puts them together into a “virtual” supercomputer. I think you’re right that nowadays most supercomputers are of this type.

    Keep an eye out for the next tour and you can see for yourself! Dr. Neeman knows a ton about these things, and loves to answer questions, so he’s the real person to talk to about supercomputing!

  4. The math club should get together with the Engineers or Computer Science Gurus to throw together a distributed computing system just for fun. Maybe it could take in some sports statistics and crunch out who is most likely to win. In other words, instead of a model with a closed form solution, it could behave more like a neural network with some rules that are much more simple. (emergent behavior)

  5. Jonathan: OU has cluster computing resources as well. It uses something like 700 underutilized lab machines on campus as a Condor pool (http://www.cs.wisc.edu/condor/). I’m pretty sure you can even submit jobs as a student. One of the big problems with the distributed system, however, is you never know how long a thread will take or if it will finish. You might have 100 machines waiting on one machine to crunch one simple input for them. If that machine is busy (someone is using it) a lot of time is wasted. It works better for purely parallel tasks where it doesn’t rely on the output of another thread.

    Travis: Check out the wikipedia page for supercomputer for some interesting factoids about distributed computing system specs.

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