SOFTWARE WATCH | Green Tea, Anyone?

Scientists who have unlimited hardware budgets, a dedicated IT staff versed in the arcana of networks, and lots of time on their hands probably find setting up a computer cluster a breeze. Everyone else knows it's difficult and expensive.

A new Java software program called GreenTea ( offers an alternative. Instead of a cluster, GreenTea works as a peer-to-peer client, chopping large computing tasks into smaller, more workable fragments, each of which runs on one peer. Researchers have only to set up a simple network and then install the software, making the system simpler to install and easier to administer, though probably less efficient, than a standard cluster. And because GreenTea is Java-based, peers can run Linux, Mac OS, or Microsoft Windows.

Chief programmer Chris Xie says he will offer limited free phone help to scientists in need, under certain conditions: "If...

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