washing machine: n.

1. Old-style 14-inch hard disks in floor-standing cabinets. So called because of the size of the cabinet and the ‘top-loading’ access to the media packs — and, of course, they were always set on ‘spin cycle’. The washing-machine idiom transcends language barriers; it is even used in Russian hacker jargon. See also walking drives. The thick channel cables connecting these were called bit hoses (see hose, sense 3).

2. [CMU] A machine used exclusively for washing software. CMU has clusters of these.