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Oklahoma State University
High Performance Computing Center

A unit in the Division of the Vice President for Research

OSU HPCC gives tour to local homeschooling group

Most students clear off campus over Spring Break. A group of local homeschooled students came to the OSU campus over Spring Break to get a tour of the OSU HPCC's supercomputer Cowboy, and to learn more about high performance computing.

The students, ranging in age from roughly eight to 16, arrived at the Math Sciences building on the Monday of Spring Break and watched a video about high performance computing to become more familar with the industry and its reach. Students then demoed a few software applications (i.e. a GalaxSee simulator) using a "baby supercomputer" the OSU HPCC staff had recently built by connecting eight single-board Raspberry Pi computers.

To demonstrate the size of the Cowboy supercomputer they were about to see, OSU HPCC Director Dana Brunson showed them the size of one of the Cowboy supercomputer's individal computers (aka a compute node) compared to the size of the Raspberry Pi single-board computers.

The students were then taken down to the Math Sciences building basement where they were able to tour the OSU HPCC's supercomputer Cowboy. Brunson opened the doors to a few of Cowboy's server racks to show them that Cowboy was actually comprised of 252 of the compute nodes like the one she had shown them upstairs. She also took them around to the back of the servers to show them how all the nodes were connected.

Brunson even showed them how the OSU HPCC is able to keep a room with all of those computers running at the same time a relatively comfortable temperature - in the back of each server rack there is a chilled water cooling system that helps keep Cowboy from overheating.

The OSU HPCC hosts outreach events such as this with students of all ages because we believe it's never too early or too late to get students interested in computing. If you'd like to schedule an outreach event, please contact