We've all been at a huge outdoor event which renders our phone useless, with no available bandwidth to make calls or check a map. That's why Sandia Labs has built this giant cluster, to simulate large networks of phones and make sure they place nicely together.
The cluster is built up of off-the-shelf PCs, which emulates an entire town of 300,000 Android phones. It takes into account everything that happens on a normal network, from details like sending text messages and transmitting wireless data, down to the behavior 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 like, umm, an outdoor concert. [Sandia Labs via NYT]