Suppose I have an infinite discrete topological space $X$ of cardinality $\kappa$. Then I know some things about the Stone-Cech compactification, $\beta X$: it is Hausdorff and compact but not sequentially compact, has a basis of clopen sets, etc. My question is the following: is there a "nice" characterization of the spaces $Y$ which are homeomorphic to the Stone-Cech compactification of a discrete space? Certainly, the term "nice" is vague; I have in mind characterizations only using terms from a standard text on point-set topology, but I would consider as an answer to this question really any nontrivial characterization of Stone-Cech compactifications.