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friday :: march 19, 2004
flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing

A Flash Mob supercomputer is hundreds or even thousands of computers connected together via a LAN working together as a single supercomputer. A Flash Mob computer, unlike an ordinary cluster, is temporary and organized on-the-fly for the purpose of working on a single problem.

FlashMob I is something new in the world of supercomputers. While grid computing, like the SETI@Home project, has been around for some time, and "big iron" supercomputing dates back to WW II, the idea of creating an ad-hoc supercomputer on-the-fly that's tightly coupled on a fast LAN using ordinary PCs is a revolutionary idea.

Today, supercomputing is controlled largely by governmental organizations, academic research institutions, animation studios, and recently human genome companies. This means that the problems that get solved by supercomputers are narrow in scope and tightly controlled. We want to change that. We think that a group of folks should be able to get together and study whatever they want, and they should be able to use a supercomputer to help them. So if a highschool science class wanted to study the ozone hole using a supercomputer model, they could create a FlashMob supercomputer in a few hours and start running their model today. If a group of neighbors were worried about how a local gas station's underground gas tank might leak into the drinking water if
the tank ever cracked, they could use Flash Mob Computing to model the scenario. In short, we hope Flash Mob Computing will democratize supercomputing. That is to say, it will make supercomputing accessible to everyone.

FlashMob I is the brainchild of a group of graduate students at USF studying super-computers. Our hope at the beginning of the semester was to build a super-computer that would break the Top 500 list of supercomputers. After some back-of-the-envelope calculations, we concluded that we were about 100 computers short of having a good shot. Someone raised their hand and said: "We could post a message on Craig's List and get a hundred people to just show up." Thus the idea of FlashMob Computing was born. >from *FlashMobComputing.org site.

related context
world's fastest supercomputers: 2003 top500 list released. november 19, 2003
> % Hacking the Xbox_ : an introduction to reverse engineering. may 26, 2003
> to support uses of embedded computers. february 5, 2003
> tele-immersion demonstration: milestone of grid computing. november 27, 2002
> folding@home: first distributed computing success. october 23, 2002
> science grid deployement: emerging model of computing. april 3, 2002
> largest prime number: great internet mersenne prime search. december 12, 2001
> biological nanocomputer: trillion computers in a drop of water. november 28, 2001
> distributed computing projects @home. december 18, 2000
> 5-qubit quantum computer. august 15, 2000

local area network supercomputer

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