July 23, 2001

Take the United States; divide it into 7,800,000 1-kilometer square cells. For each cell, compare 25 environmental characteristics against every other cell. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they used an array of discarded 486 computers to do just that, building a super-computer at almost zero cost. Powered by Linux, of course. Here is one of the exquisite maps produced as a result.

Check out the full details in Scientific American's August issue.

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