I currently am a student worker at a medium sized university. i work for the college of science (includes math, stat, comp sci, physics, chem, and biology) and as a "technician"; which basically is a catch all for basic trouble shooting and fixing faculty computer, setting up computer labs, writing custom programs, and administrating web and database servers.
We currently have 3 groups of fairly new computers set up for clusters, however they are not in use and abandoned. I would like to do some kind of cluster project, but my biggest hurdle is what to do on/with the clusters. If i knew what applications or projects could utilize a cluster, I could go from there. I have read about clusters being used for video rendering, generating rainbow tables/password cracking, and high availability web servers. But I was looking for something more academic; something that could be presented to the professors and deans as something of actual academic usability.Not something that will never be used.
I don't really want to do video rendering because there is non need to render video. Password cracking would not have much use to the college. High availability web cluster has no use because we don't host but a few static faculty pages and our site (network and the university's websites is another dept). Tools that I could present to the math, physics, or chem department would be ideal. However I'm open for ideas or examples.
Setting up / administering Linux or whatever OS or program is not the problem. It is what to do with the cluster.
tl/dr: what to do with a cluster in a academic setting.