Thursday, December 09, 2010

Air Force Uses PlayStation Processors to Build Supercomputer

Gamers might think Xbox is the best system for playing war games, but can it be transformed into a supercomputer for use by the U.S. military? Sony's PlayStation 3 can.
 
In what might be called supercomputing-on-the-cheap, a U.S. Air Force research laboratory in upstate New York strung together more than 1,700 PlayStation 3 processors and created the fastest interactive computer currently utilized by the Department of Defense.
 
Nicknamed the Condor Cluster, the supercomputer allows the military to perform fast analysis of large high-resolution imagery captured by satellites. The PS3 cluster is capable of performing 500 trillion operations every second, which is about a third of the speed of the third fastest computer in the world–the IBM Roadrunner computer used by the Department of Energy.
 
But the Roadrunner cost about $120 million to build. The PS3 cluster only $2.3 million.
 

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