The n-queens problem

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# 1  
Old 08-01-2013
The n-queens problem

Our first computer science semester involved programming recursively. The teacher riled against the fact that we were learning our programming skills on an old DEC-VAX machine. He therefore challenged us to bring the system to its knees using a program of our choice, because he argued it would confront the university directors with the fact that the machine needed replacement with something more modern and stable.
So a co-ed of mine and I set out to program the n-queens problem, recursively mind you, and gradually increased the value of n. At some point we felt the calculations were taking too long and still in hope that we would finally meet the challenge, we stepped into the teacher's office. Unfortunately the teacher we were supposed to see wasn't there, but his colleague was, who was also less than impressed with our initiative. He told us off by saying that the machine should be used by other people too. The machine was still in use after 2 semesters of computer science classes.

Last edited by figaro; 08-01-2013 at 08:01 PM..
# 2  
Old 08-02-2013
So you flogged the server and caused yourself trouble, well, perhaps you need to consider working within the limitations. Sometimes the cash for a replacement is just not there.

It does remind me of someone sacked for exhausting a mainframe by calculating natural factors of ever higher numbers in an attempt to find some large prime numbers. It ground it to a near dead stop for all other users (they multi-threaded the logic too) so I would take that as a caution.


Last edited by rbatte1; 08-02-2013 at 09:15 AM..
# 4  
Old 10-22-2013
Originally Posted by Corona688
A VAX? Your teacher's kind of right -- you've got mounds more computing power in your average graphics card these days.
I disagree. A VAX makes a fantastic learning tool. Any undergraduate CS assignment will run just fine on a VAX. Undergrads are learning how this stuff works, they don't need monster power.

Just as a 16 year old with a shiny new driver's license does not need a Ferrari, as he does not yet have the skills to use that much performance.
# 5  
Old 10-22-2013
It's certainly not useless, I'm sure it could anchor a number of boats. Smilie Probably more qualified to drive, in age and talent, than some students too.

It's the kind of system sysadmins keep out of affection and must invent uses for. Certainly they're good educational systems. I cut my teeth on one. [edit] My mistake, it was a Sun system, anyway.

Assuming your don't need the power is, still, sometimes an unfortunate assumption.
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