Flash mob computing
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24-02-2009, 12:12 AM


A flash mob computing (also flash mob computer) is a temporary ad-hoc computer cluster running specific software to coordinate the individual computers into one single supercomputer. A flash mob computer is distinct from other types of computer clusters in that it is set up and broken down on the same day or during a similar brief amount of time and involves many independent owners of computers coming together at a central physical location to work on a specific problem and/or social event. Flash mob computer derives its name from the more general term flash mob which can mean any activity involving many people co-ordinated through virtual communities coming together for brief periods of time for a specific task or event. Flash mob computing is a more specific type of flash mob for the purpose of bringing people and their computers together to work on a single task or event. The first flash mob computer, April 3, 2004, University of San Francisco gymnasium. Note the temporary location, variety of individual computers and central switch. The first flash mob computer, April 3, 2004, University of San Francisco gymnasium. Note the temporary location, variety of individual computers and central switch. The first flash mob computer was created on April 3, 2004 at the University of San Francisco using software written at USF called FlashMob (not to be confused with the more general term flash mob). The event, called FlashMob I, was a fantastic success. There was a call for computers on the computer news website Slashdot and more than 700 computers came to the gym at the University of San Francisco and were wired to a network donated by Foundry Networks. At FlashMob I they were able to run a benchmark on 256 of the computers and achieved a peak rate of 180 Gflops (billions of calculations per second), although this computation stopped three quarters of the way through due to a node failure. The best, complete run used 150 computers and resulted in 77 Gflops. FlashMob I was run off a bootable CD-ROM that ran a copy of Morphix Linux and was only available for the x86 platform.
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