I have blogged enough about gaming for now so I will telll you what has been going on at school laterly.
I got the grade on my midterm back in Algorithms. I got 96 out of 100 (the highest grade in the class).
Also I am taking the mandatory CS 591-PHD orientation course, where each week they have a different guest speaker. We have had some cool lectures with some very distinguished lecturers, includnig Dan Reed who told us about high performance computing research going on at Microsoft, and Bill Gropp who told us about the new "Blue Waters" project at UIUC. Blue Waters is slated to be the most powerful supercomputer in the world, with the computing power of over 1 million laptops, and is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2011.
One interesting fact: part of the reason they are building Blue Waters at UIUC is because of the cold climate in Illinois. Supercomputers generate large quantities of heat and thus need to be cooled to avoid overheating and burning out, and that costs a lot of energy. Dan Reed also talked about this problem in regards to large corporate data centers. In fact, he told us, some corporations are discovering that in some cases it is actually cheaper to not even bother with extra cooling and simply replace computers as they fail rather than spend lots of electricity cooling them all. (That solution would not work for Blue Waters because unlike data centers that have lots of separate, redundant computers, Blue Waters is all connected and one part failing could ruin any computation that is in progress.)
On the other hand, this is probably not a good cooling solution for any large-scale computing application.