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News Link • Technology: Software

Hackers Spawn Web Supercomputer on Way to Chess World Record

• Wired.com
 

Based in San Francisco, the Hack Reactor is one of many crash software development courses that seek to teach computer programming through several weeks of complete immersion in code. Pethiyagoda enrolled in the school this past March, and over the past several weeks, he and three other hackers-in-training have teamed with one of the giants of the tech industry — the Pivotal Initiative, the big data spin-off company from EMC and VMware — to approach a new world record for what’s called the N-Queens Problem, a classic math puzzle that plays out on a chess board.

But more importantly, in working to solve this problem, this four-person team — Cameron Boehmer, John S. Dvorak, and Tim Sze, as well as Pethiyagoda — has developed a new breed of software that lets you pool the processing power of potentially thousands of machines just by pointing them to a single website. They call this creation Smidge. It’s a kind of ad hoc supercomputer built with JavaScript, the standard programming language of the web.

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