By linking together 1,360 computers, a team of Canadian scientists created a supercomputer that ran for a single day. The 24-hour distributed computing project, which last week formed the world's fifth largest supercomputer while it lasted, tackled a computational chemistry problem that otherwise would have taken more than three years to complete.

The Canadian Internetworked Scientific Supercomputer (CISS) was organized by computer scientists Paul Lu and Jonathan Schaeffer at the University of Alberta, Edmonton in collaboration with the University of Calgary. Chemist Wolfgang Jaeger, also at the University of Alberta, supplied the chemistry problem that put the supercomputer to the test. "On November 4, we accomplished 3.5 years worth of computing in one day," said Lu, who created the software to link computers at 20 sites across Canada with his graduate students Chris Pinchak and Mark Goldenberg.

The project was supported by, a not-for-profit organization devoted to...

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