The University of Karlsruhe has a secret nearly nobody knows about. But let me start from the beginning.

Its around 1995.

The University of Karlsruhe is the birthplace of the german Internet. The first email was received here. The University was the central agency for german domains (deNic) for several years and if i recall correctly some denic-servers are even now located in Karlsruhe. A Company in Karlsruhe is owner of the biggest computer center in Europe, 40% of all Internet Websites are handled in Karlsruhe. Some of the key infrastructure to the internet is located at the University.

The data centre at the University is a big bunker at the end of building 20.21, protected by concrete walls and several massive steel doors with special keys you won't find on the normal market.

Inside the first room are most servers of the university, all rooms are capable of killing fires by means of a co2 delivery system. Above each door is a light that indicates if the room is flooded with co2 that would suffocate you if you enter.

The second room hosts hunderes of batteries for the Unterbrechungsfreie Stromversorgung (uninterruptible powersource).

The third room generates 400 Volts DC (170 Ampere) for the fourth room and is ventilated so heavily that your hair will have a mind of it's own. 400 Volts? What the hell needs 400 Volts?

The fourth room hosts an IBM RS/6000 SP. This is what needs 400 Volts. A massive parallel hybrid Cluster that was in the list of the worlds top 100 supercomputers for some time. It even has three AS/400 as... fileservers. Intristingly the photo you can see on the Universitys Homepage does not show the real SP2 located there. The floor is black PVC that slowly curves to the housing of the black housing of the 24 towers. There are several red LEDs and a black brushed metal IBM sign at each tower. This baby was one of IBM's experiments if they could build something like this. In the first months several IBM-technicians flew to Karlsruhe to take a look at this machine. Normally the University could not have afforded this machine, but this being an experiment IBM sold it to a "cheap" price. It still costed loads of money, and keeping it running cost the Rechenzentrum substantial amounts of money.

The fifth room is the tape library with a big robotic arm to change tapes. 1140 Terabytes storage capability.

And then there is a last door. Even the head director of the whole institute has no key to this room. And even he does not know what's behind this door.

There is more. At the start of the corridor there is a metal board with magnetic stickers on it. If you enter you have to put a magnetic sticker on the room you are in as a safety measure. There are blue ones for University personnel, red ones for IBM service personnel, purple ones for visitors. And two black ones. Two black stickers nobody knows what their function is or who is allowed to use them. Every 6 weeks someone using one of these black stickers visits and disappears behind the last door.

60cm beton walls. Even Baden Württembergs HP XC6000 Landeshöchstleistungsrechner (which currently boasts around 1900 Gigaflops) located at the university is not protected like this. Remember: The SP2 mentioned above has only 384 Gigaflops.

Okay, lets recap:
A supercomputer
60cm Walls
Key internet structure for germany
Two unknown black stickers and visits by unknown personal on regular basis
A Metal door nobody at the university knows whats behind it.

In my opinion it's very obvious what is behind that door.
Created on 30.12.2006 | Tags [ ]