I don't think there is any other desktop system that has something like kio_slaves.. I love how it lets me edit text files (using kate with vim mode) on remote systems, open PDFs etc.
Also, KWin is great, multiple desktops with tiling support has become one of my favorite features when working on my laptop.
Also, whether you will get a significant speedup by using the GPU really depends on the algorithm. Some algorithms may not even be possible to implement for the GPU (due to limitations of CUDA, OpenCL etc.).
Link to paper: http://www.rle.mit.edu/stir/documents/BilgicGA_MagResMed2011.pdf
I guess the reason this shows up on slashdot is that it was on MITnews (and of course the work was done at MIT).
It is nothing really groundbreaking (or novel for that matter). They use Compressive Sensing where they assume that the different scan types (T1, T2,etc) have a similar structure (same sparsity profile, enforced through shared precision hyperparameters in a Bayesian formulation).
If you have Linux PC that is accessible from the internet, then just use Unison (http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/). I use it all the time to synchronize my PC at work, my PC at home, and my laptop. It is quite fast, my synchronized folder is currently ~7GB and it takes maybe 10s to check for changes (not sure how Unison manages to do this).