We're a bit light on experience, i.e. we've never set up or configured a Testnet environment before, so we're looking for any advice or recommendations on the proper procedure or important implementation details that anyone might be able to offer.
There's Testnet3 (the current public testnet) and Regtest (a private, locally generated, proof-of-work-less network. If you want to experiment with consensus changes you can't be using the public network because those changes will be rejected. Regtest is good for quickly testing things, and Testnet3 is more real world and has a small number of other network participants.
From our university we have the ability to have allocated to our project a server, and we've been asked what are the requirements that our project would need- does anyone know what are the necessary specifications?
Ideally you'll have as much capacity as you can, but you'll get away with any modern Intel CPU and a few gigabytes of memory. The more memory you have the more you can allocate to caching (
dbcache defaults to 100MB, but can be set far higher for performance). Testnet is not a great reflection of how the real network operates, the requirements for the full network to run with good performance are higher.