Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Supercomputer made out of 1,760 PS3s

The US Department of Defence has revealed its fastest interactive computer - made out of 1,760 Playstation 3 consoles. Dubbed the Condor Cluster, the new system is capable of performing 500 trillion floating point operations per second. It will be used for quickly processing high-res satellite imagery, radar enhancement, and even research into artificial intelligence.

The consoles were used as they provide maximum computing power at a budget price. When the project began four years ago PS3s cost around £250 each, while the equivalent technology would have been about £6,500 per unit.

Officials also say the Condor will also consume less than one-tenth the power of comparable supercomputers making it a "green" supercomputer. Mark Barnell, director of US Air Force Research Laboratory High Power Computing, said: "Such capability exceeds any other interactive supercomputer currently used by the Department of Defense." Based at the Air Force Research Laboratory in New York, the array also uses 168 GPUs and 84 servers to direct system traffic.

The older 'fatter' Playsation 3 consoles were used as they allow installation of the Linux operating system.