I've been using PCLinuxOS (KDE) for three years on 4 machines, and have been happy with it. The rolling releases are great and usually work. There have been a couple of problems, but they're usually fixed in a week. The maintenance crew maintain an active and friendly prescence on their forum. The distro is independent, not based on Debian or Ubuntu, so the occasional independent software may not have a plug-and-play distribution.
Tri writes "Scientists at the Siding Spring Observatory have built a new system to map and record over 1 billion objects in the southern hemisphere sky. They collect 700 GB of data every night, which they then crunch down using some perl scripts and make available to other scientists through a web interface backed on Postgresql. 'Unsurprisingly, the Southern Sky Survey will result in a large volume of raw data — about 470 terabytes ... when complete. ... the bulk of the analysis of the SkyMapper data will be done on a brand new, next generation Sun supercomputer kitted out with 12,000 cores. Due to be fully online by December, the supercomputer will offer a tenfold increase in performance over the facility's current set up of two SGI machines, each with just under 3500 cores in total.'"