A bit like `The Matrix’


Today’s snarky epiphany, while thesis-writing in the office:

It was rather warm in the office even though the heater was turned down and the window was a bit open. After a brief conversation with my officemate, Luis, we decided that the heat came from the eight computers in the room.

All this time I had assumed that the department provided lots of high-performance computers to its PhD students out of generosity. However, I now realise that the primary purpose of workstations is to provide computational power when large programs are distributed over the entire network (grid computing). That PhD students get to use them during the day is a perk, but not a raison d’être.

As I opened the window up a bit more, I realised that one can take this a step further and conjecture that not only are the computers not there to serve the PhD students, but in fact, it is the PhD students who are there to serve the computers by acting as biological feedback systems to maintain a reasonable room temperature, thus preventing CPU overheating.

If that doesn’t bring up images of Keanu Reeves in a sac of amniotic fluid with wires sticking out of his brain… then good for you, because I’ve been trying to get that image out of my head for the past ten minutes.

Update: David points out that the desktops aren’t used for the grid (yet). On that note, I’m always surprised by who happens to be reading this blog.

Update: My officemate, Dave, also notes that during the winter he wrote a script to run infinite do-loops on each of the office’s computers. The results of this attempt to warm up the room were inconclusive, but the attempt deserves applause.


One Response to “A bit like `The Matrix’”

  1. 1 David G

    The desktops aren’t used for grid work yet, but what a great idea! We’ll save tons on cooling.

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