Piper

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Piper (1988 - ??) was our ETA-10P million dollar supercomputer won by the the 1987 SuperQuest team. It came with 2GB of disk storage and 64MB of RAM, and ran ETA System V UNIX. It was used to run computational simulations written in Fortran, and was used extensively by Supercomputing Applications and Senior Research students[1]. Unfortunately, due to a leak in the roof, it has broken down. The problem was believed to have been a corrupted fiber optic link between the disk storage and processor, but this was not fixable by the Sysadmins[2]. Even if it hadn't broken, though, its value was diminishing, since PCs were catching up to it. The only remains of the original supercomputer are the original floorplans, which are taped inside of the machine room electrical panel. The trophy from the SuperQuest competition can still be seen in the windows of the machine room from the hallway in front of the systems lab.

The supercomputer was maintained for the first two years by ETA, who also stationed a full-time support person at the school. After the 2-year operations contract, TJ was expected to meet the $100,000 annual cost of the machine. Time rented out on the supercomputer was for educational uses only

Apparently there was a small scandal when Mr. Pete Morasca attempted to sell the supercomputer to a third party in order to allow the school to realize the market price of the gold contained within it.

References

  1. CSL Systems - ETA10-P, 22 September 1996. 3 October 2010.
  2. Piper: The ETA 10-P Supercomputer, 25 December 1996. 3 October 2010.