Using more than 2,000 Legos and some mad computer skills, Mike Schropp of Livonia, Mich., built a fully operational supercomputer that’s not only awesome, but helps in the fight against diseases like cancer and HIV.
The machine uses three Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz processors overclocked to a full 4.7GHz, three Asus P8P67-M motherboards, 28 gigs of RAM, and just one Antec HCP-1200 power supply. Intel’s Core i7 is unlocked for modifications just like this, so the skill once required for such a task has now been eliminated, as well as much of the risk. And the case is constructed mostly of Legos!
“Legos seem to have an uncanny ability for multiplying in my house at an almost exponential rate,” says the 29-year-old race engine builder and designer. “First you build models, then it’s Star Wars, then it’s your phone, your jewelry. Before things are said and done you’ve got nooks, bins, and chests full of them. I’ve been addicted to Legos for longer than I can remember, so when the opportunity comes up to work on a new project of some sort, the question that invariably arises is, ‘Can I use Legos?’”
But he didn’t just build the machine as a way to offload some extra Legos — it was also for a good cause. It’s connected to the World Community Grid (WCC), which uses distributed computing to tackle humanitarian projects, like medical research. The WCC currently has almost two million connected devices and makes its technology available to organizations whose research might otherwise not be completed due to the highly prohibitive costs of computer infrastructure.
Mike Schropp could very well be the next Lego superhero minifigure — sorry, Batman!