Education: Matriculating At Supercomputer U

The U.S. earmarks powerful new machines for college campuses

When University of Illinois Astrophysicist Larry Smarr discovered that the computers on campus were too small to simulate the behavior of quasars, those mysterious and distant starlike objects, he began casting around for a machine that could do the job. But Smarr soon realized that most of the hundred or so supercomputers powerful enough to serve his needs were either in the hands of private industry or tied up doing work for the Department of Defense. He finally had to use an American-made Cray 1 at West Germany's Max Planck Institut. "The Germans were extremely gracious," he says. "But it was...

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