In the process of developing a novel data sharing system, Kiepert became convinced that the best way to test his ideas was to simulate them on a Beowulf cluster. A Beowulf cluster is a group of computers, usually identical, that are networked together in order to share the task of processing complex problems. (The name Beowulf was chosen by NASA engineers almost 20 years ago for a computer they deemed especially powerful.) At Boise State University, a Beowulf cluster exists in the “MetaGeek Lab” (or Onyx Lab), which is run by the Computer Science Department. The Onyx cluster currently consists of 32 processors, or nodes, each of which has a 3.1GHz Intel processor and 8GB of RAM, allowing substantial parallel processing capability.
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