1. Big computer, small college (Monmouth College)

As if to illustrate the proliferation of campus supercomputers, this tiny college has a supercomputer but only a student population of 1,300 students.

Christopher Fasano, a physics professor there, built the college’s first supercomputer in 2009 by combining dozens of old computers he bought from eBay. Each computer cost only about $200.

2. Legos and Raspberry Pi (University of Southampton)

In another Do-It-Yourself attempt at building a supercomputer, researchers and engineers at the University of Southampton created one out of some Legos and some Raspberry Pi personal computers.

The whole setup only cost about $4,000 to build, and the university posted instructions online for creating your own cheap and colorful supercomputer.

3. Always on top (Purdue University)

In 2013, Purdue University unveiled its new supercomputer Conte. It was quickly established to be the fastest university-owned supercomputer in the nation, as calculated by Top500.org. It’s about 15,000 times faster than a 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro.

While Purdue was quick to brag about the accomplishment, the feat wasn’t anything new for the university. It was the third year in a row one of their supercomputers had come in at the number one spot.

“I’m afraid our campus has become a bit blasé about having the nation’s largest campus supercomputer,” said Gerry McCartney, vice president for information technology at Purdue. “I think some people on campus have come to expect it.”

(Next page: More wonders of campus supercomputers)


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