10 440 MHz Alpha (quad-issue superscalar) processors
1 GByte of RAM
10 SCSI buses
1/2 Huge pile of 9 GByte disk drives
1/2 Small pile of DLT tape drives
That should add up to about 17 GFlops or so, or a bit more than a 16-processor
Cray C90. Of course, we can get away with very coarse-grained parallelism in
our problems, since we have a huge number of relatively (no velocity-related
pun intended) small, discreet events to analyze.
These machines will be used by the E799/E832 KTeV experiment to look for
evidence of direct CP (charge-conjugation parity) violation in neutral kaon
decays, with high precision. Physicists get excited about this stuff, because
it's a mechanism that could distinguish matter from anti-matter, professors
from grad-students, and bolster grant money conservation theories. Some of the
gory details can be found in and around:
My part in all this is to get and help keep these systems up and running (and
stifle the urge to make them into the Web's most spectacular anagram servers).
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." From a book called The
Official Rules, and used to explain how there can be expert witnesses on both
sides in a trial, among other things. I suppose that means that juries are
unwittingly used for symmetry-breaking in these instances.