We've all been at a huge outdoor event that results in network congestion and makes our phones useless. That's why Sandia Labs has built this giant cluster to simulate large networks of phones and find out how to make them all play nicely together.
The cluster is made up of off-the-shelf PCs and emulates an entire town of 300,000 Android phones. It takes into account everything that happens on a normal network, from sending text messages and transmitting wireless data, down to the behaviour of an individual phone's sensors.
That's pretty neat in itself, but the idea is that the researchers will be able to figure out how networks react when they're prodded by unpredictable external cues: natural disasters, hacking attempts, and even software bugs. In time, the findings will help networks cope in the most adverse of situations such as, umm, an outdoor concert. [Sandia Labs via NYT]