To simplify SEP's computer environment, while preserving its technical capabilities, we suggest restricting the environment to two types of platforms: a base platform (SEPers desktop) and special purpose platforms (a compute server such as the SGI Power Challenge and maybe a Promax, AVS, or Focus server).
The base system should be a capable UNIX platform that offers email, NFS, NIS, printer, and web support, as well as reasonable compilers. The platform should require little maintenance and, ideally, should excite its users. We believe Linux is an excellent candidate for this role.
The special purpose platforms are limited to their specific task. We would restrict the general purpose software on these machines to a bare minimum. We also would limit the number of special purpose platforms to as few as possible. The authors believe, that currently, the SGI supercomputer, and one or two HP graphics workstations, could serve as our sole special purpose machines.