Beowulf Questions

Dean Johnson dtj at
Sat Jan 4 19:33:30 PST 2003

On Sat, 2003-01-04 at 20:32, Halpern, Joshua wrote:
> Joseph Landman wrote
> > You are not nearly paranoid enough to work for NSA.  They
> > would never borrow cycles out of house, for fear that
> > by looking at what was happening, someone could figure
> > out what they are doing...
> Now with a slight extension of what you indicate...  are they building
> their own power plants for fear of tipping off the watchful eyes of
> others by the size of their power bill?  Are they building their own
> supers (apart from clusters), or network hardware, or ...
> Have you ever visited Ft. Meade?  You do know the standing
> joke that NSA stands for no such agency.

Having been to the Fort a couple of times, I would be awfully surprised
if they didn't have their own power plants of some sort. Do you really
want the lionshare of the intelligence gathering apparatus taken out
when some idiot hits the wrong lightpole? You also have to consider that
amount of toys that they employ in their day to day activities.

And yes, I would guess that they probably do build their own
supercomputers in some cases. They have very specific requirements and a
serious mandate to make it happen, even before Bin Laden decided to
rearrange any skylines. Its just a matter of efficiencies and cost
effectiveness. Regardless of how much they wish hardware fairies
existed, they are effected by the same timeline to develop hardware and
software that commercial companies are.

While I am not privy to their real magic stuff, the place is awfully
impressive and the people are rightfully steeped in paranoia. Not many
places do you hear "if you walk down that hall, you will be shot dead"
and have it be a serious statement.


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