Feature Stories

Over-clocking and Water-cooling at NJIT: Meet Glenn Hanlon, a Builder

Glenn Hanlon built a customized computer; a Linux server and a Wi-Fi antenna array while an undergraduate at NJIT. He now works as an Information Security Analyst at Prudential while also pursuing a masterís degree in Information Technology at NJIT.

When Glenn Hanlon moved out of his dorm, his roommates were sad.  Not only to see him go, but also because of what he took with him.

While living in the dorm Hanlon had built a Linux server on which he installed Myth TV. The server -- equipped with a RAID 5 storage array -- allowed Hanlon to record four TV shows at a time and to watch an unlimited number of shows. He could also stream the shows to every TV and computer in the dormitory.  He was, as a result, a popular dude.  

“My roommates were not happy to lose that server,” says Hanlon, now a master’s student in Information Technology who lives off campus. “When I left and took the server and network hardware with me, I could sense their disappointment.”

Hanlon, like so many NJIT students, loves to build. And while an undergraduate student his dorm was his workshop.  There, he also built a lightning-fast computer that is over-clocked and water-cooled.  The over-clocking pushes the computer to high speeds -- above four GHz -- while the water-cooling reduces the heat generated by the speed. The computer has computing horsepower comparable to high-end servers. It also looks cool: The water-cooling tubes, lit by internal black lights, glow green. He happily and swiftly uses the computer as his desktop.

Another of Hanlon’s building projects made a splash on campus.  Working on a class project with a team of students, he constructed a six foot-wide array of parabolic Wi-Fi antennas. He then installed the array on top of the NJIT Parking Deck.

“It was great fun,” he says. “We created a PERL script that let us plot the location of the wireless networks in Google Earth by using the antenna array to record the traffic for one minute in five-degree increments. The project was not only fun, but the knowledge I gained while completing it helped me at work.”

By work, Hanlon means his job as an Information Security Analyst at Prudential, in Newark.  When he was a junior, he won a Prudential scholarship given annually to an NJIT student. The scholarship includes a summer internship at Prudential. Hanlon excelled at the internship and at summer’s end his superiors asked him if he’d continue working there during the semester. He agreed. And as soon as he graduated from NJIT in May 2010 with a degree in Information Technology, the company hired him as a full-time analyst.  

Prudential is a short walk from the NJIT campus. So after work, Hanlon walks to NJIT and attends his master’s degree classes.  He’s happy.

“It’s a great job and I love it,” Hanlon says. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more coming right out of college.  I’m working in the field I love, which is fantastic. Plus my master’s classes help me with my job and my work experience helps me with my class projects. It’s a win-win. And I’ll always build computers and servers and other technology -- just for the fun of it.” 

(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)