University Computer Club

starfish: n.

  1. any echinoderm of the class Asteroidea, such as Asterias rubens, typically having a flattened body covered with a flexible test and five arms raidiating from a central disc.
[C19: from STAR + FISH, due to it's appearance]


Other pictures: [back] [on the stairs]

How and when machine obtained:

  • Starfish was given to the UCC in 1995, by UWA's Centre for Water Research. Kind engineering types, who give us a lot of obsolete or unserviceable gear.

History prior to arrival at UCC:

  • Starfish used to smash numbers for CWR. With its vector processing units, it did a couple of hundred MFLOPS and used to do fluid dynamics simulations and other computationally intensive tasks.

UCC history of machine:

  • The machine was moved from the UCC to a cupboard about 100 metres away in the Guild, due to weight, noise and power drain problems.
  • Installed in its new alcove, it sounded like a continuously vacuuming janitor or a new largish air-conditioner had been installed in the Guild building.
  • After noise complaints, it was moved back to the UCC as variously an NFS server, FTP server and xntpd host.
  • Starfish was one of the primary motivations behind the machine room...

Current machine tasks:

  • Decommissioned.

Current software configuration:

  • Running StarOS [like SunOS 4.1.1]

Current hardware configuration:

  • A Star 910/VP [a Sun 4 clone made by Star Systems]
  • 128Mb memory
  • 2 * 760MB Imprimis SCSI disks
  • Wangtek 150MB QIC tape
  • Interphase Dual channel SCSI controller
  • Interphase 40MHz Sparc CPU card

Future plans for machine:

  • Talk is afoot about trying to port S/linux to it (why should the AP1000 have all the fun?) or maybe NetBSD/OpenBSD, so as to try and get a working compiler and make use of the 128MB.

Special notes:

  • The machine is very heavy, very large and very very noisy. Unfortunately Star Technologies is no more, so any information that anyone might have about the 910/VP would be of value to us!
  • Decommissioned 04/2000 due to large size and low processing power! Given to Simon Fryer on indefinite loan.


  • Centre for Water Research

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