Oberlin College’s Super ComputerMore and more universities are getting supercomputers. Students who are in the computer science department aren’t the only people getting a chance to use them either. Supercomputers are being used for intense calculations that are useful for a lot of departments to have. So, here’s what you should know about supercomputers should happen to use on in your time at school.

Software

Supercomputers tend to run Linux. Most people don’t use this operating system. The interface is generally under-developed so you’ll probably be running something like what Tom Cruise hacked into in the first Mission impossible. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a blog post about how software running on these hulked out machines is becoming outdated. The post said that some of the code was from the sixties! So, if you’re going to be doing some high-end cosmological research be prepared to be looking at something MS-DOS shit out. The problem is caused by there not being an easy computer language for super computers.

Uses

Supercomputers are generally used for high-end calculations. No American History I term papers are written on these bad boys (or girls). You’ve got your run of the mill, meteorological calculation for weather patters and such. It’s a lot of simulations, where there are more problems solved in one day than a human could do in their lifetime. 

Collaboration

A lot of universities are doing the same types of research. The more data academia has as a who the more likely we’ll be able to see patterns create better theories about the world around us. For students working on these types of research projects, you should take the chance to network with students from the schools you’re working with.  It makes sense because you’re both doing something you love (hopefully). It could end up in partnership that advances your science as a whole.

Have you had any experience with supercomputers at your college or university? If so, comment below!

Image via Oberlin College