Purdue University has built an online game, Rack-A-Node, to highlight its students participating in this year’s SC08 Cluster Challenge. Rack-A-Node is an online game allowing players their chance at designing and operating a simulated research supercomputer. Players build a cluster using various different types of machines to run scientific experiments. As the player becomes more successful at running jobs, he/she receives more funding to build a bigger machine. [I wish it were that easy in real life!].
There’s a group of people who are into both science and computing,” says Kyle Bowen, informatics manager for Information Technology at Purdue. “The characters on the television show ‘Big Bang Theory’ would spend hours playing Rack-A-Node.”
Like the game ‘rock, paper, scissors,’ certain tools perform better against certain challenges,” Bowen says. “In Rack-A-Node, the player has to optimize the supercomputer for the type of science being performed.”
Very cool stuff. Never underestimate the power of an undergraduate student. Allow them to spread their wings and the best will most certainly learn to fly. If you or your colleagues would like to try your hand at Rack-A-Node, check it out here. For more info, read the full release here.