Wednesday, December 1, 2010

PS3 makes a supercomputer using distributing computing

With anti-tank missiles for the price of a Porsche Cayenne and cruise missiles costing well over half a million dollars, U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) doesn't cut corners when it comes to military expenses. However, in a clear departure from its excesses, U.S. DoD has built a supercomputer 20 times cheaper using a cluster of PlayStation 3 consoles.

This example of distributed computing employs 1,760 Sony PS3s linked together using same hardware as regular cluster computing solutions. Christened Condor Cluster, it is intended for satellite and radar based surveillance applications, to solve image-matching problems and also run number crunching involved in radar enhancement and pattern recognition routines.

Its total project cost is $20 million, but it's still much cheaper than regular supercomputers of comparable power. It will be unveiled today at Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y. However, knowing the failure rates of consoles, one wonders how reliable a cluster of nearly two thousand PS3s will be. If only this were released in time for the GT5 release. Maybe that would've prevented GT5 producer Kazunori Yamauchi bitching about how PS3's lack of power stifles his creativity.