US Air Force Builds Supercomputer Out of 1,760 PlayStation 3s: Report

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US Air Force researchers have created the Defense Department’s largest interactive supercomputer -- the 35th fastest in the world -- from 1,760 Song PlayStation 3s, The Air Force Times reported.

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The amalgamation of consoles, nicknamed the “Condor Cluster,” will be used to “process high-resolution satellite images and boost surveillance capabilities” according to The Times. It will allow scientists to monitor a 15.5-mile area in real time.

Mark Barnell, director of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio -- where the computer was unveiled earlier this month -- said that the computer is also capable of reading 20 pages per second with up to 30 percent of the characters removed and recovering all the words without error.

The “Condor Cluster” is energy efficient and at $2 million, has a price tag well below that of traditional computing equipment.

“We’re striving hard to make affordable and constrained systems, where they can really use them and make a difference,” Barnell said, adding that it is thought to be the seventh “greenest” computer in the world.

The “Condor Cluster” can achieve about 1.5 GigaFLOPS -- floating point operations per second, the unit by which supercomputing power is measured -- per watt of computing power, about fifteen times more powerful than a typical supercomputer.

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“We have quite a few research and development efforts working on those kind of applications to do confabulation and prediction and that will open up a variety of areas which could help with a lot of other efforts and a lot of the areas in which the Air Force would like to go,” Barnell said.

Read more: http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2010/12/air-force-playstation-3-supercomputer-122410w/