Hundreds of area technophiles joined laptops Saturday in an attempt to create a computing force on par with the world's most powerful supercomputers. The experiment organized by researchers at the University of San Francisco was designed to determine whether a gymnasium full of off-the-shelf personal computers networked together can muster enough power to process the most complex research problems. Organizers hoped to break into the ranks of the world's top 500 supercomputers through the event, which they called "Flashmob Supercomputing."
"Flashmob is about democratizing supercomputing," said John Witchel, a graduate student at USF who codeveloped the concept. "It's about giving supercomputing power to the people so that we can decide how we want supercomputers to be used." Supercomputers perform highly sophisticated functions, such as predicting weather patterns, modeling biological processes or animating movies. Most are run by government laboratories or big corporations because they are expensive, costing $25 million to $1 billion.
News source: customwire