The Nerd Herd World Tour – Day Two

Posted by Debby on 23rd March and posted in Cultivating Communities, Robotics, Teaching and Learning

Stardate Intergalactic Time: 190324.1519.40

Yesterday (Friday) morning started off with breakfast at UC Riverside (again, we got a LOT for our $3!) before meeting up with a campus tour guide to take a tour of the entire campus. We learned the UCR was founded as a land grant agriculture university and that they have created numerous varieties of citrus and other crops that are being grown today. Did you know that they have the largest collection of sci fi and fantasy books in North America? And that they have a copy of Fahrenheit 451 bound in asbestos? And remember those 6′ hissing Madagascar cockroaches that starred in Fear Factor? Guess where those came from? Yummy!

We piled into the van and headed south to the UC San Diego Supercomputer. After checking in with Dr. Ross Walker, computational chemist and SuperComputer SuperGeek, we had lunch on campus. What exactly is a SuperComputer? Well here are some specs:

* IBM DataStar, which offers 15.6 teraflops of compute power
* IBM BlueGene eServer, which provides 17.2 teraflops of compute power
* TeraGrid Cluster, which offers 4.1 teraflops Linux cluster that is part of the national TeraGrid distributed platform
* 25 petabytes of archival data storage and 1.4 petabytes of online disk storage

In case that doesn’t mean much to you… let’s just say it’s one MEGA MACHINE! Can’t pick this one up at Best Buy (actually can’t pick it up at ALL). Corey, do you think we can put in a request for one of these with the next $120 million spare dollars we have? If not, then maybe I can get some funding for an hour or two on the machine. It’s only $25,000 an hour to use. That would make one heck of a WOW game! I’m sure I can find that in my VTEA budget somewhere 😉

We saw some of the simulation work that the supercomputer does, including the next big earthquake fallout zone. Lancaster was on the map. Let’s just say it’s not pretty and that beach front property we joke about… well it might not be as far fetched as we think.

But what made the biggest impression with our Mojave Desert students (ok, so not the BIGGEST, but BIG)? Being able to wrestle on the HUGE lawn area at UCR and driving by the beach for miles and miles on the way to San Diego…lol. GRASS? OCEAN? What is that?? lol.

Day 2 Pictures: http://flickr.com/photos/debbyk/sets/72157600023311212/

Debby Kilburn
Nerd Herd Herder




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