This Stack Of PS3s Is The 33rd Biggest Computer In The World

Remember how the US Air Force bought a ton of PlayStation 3 consoles then strung them together? Ever wonder just why the military would do a thing like that? Well, it's not for playing Killzone on.

In all, 1760 consoles have been joined with "168 separate graphical processing units and 84 coordinating servers" to form what the Air Force is calling "the fastest interactive computer in the entire defence Department". It's also, the military claims, the 33rd largest computer of any kind in the world.

This "rat king" of PlayStation 3s will be used for things like research into AI, fast processing of satellite pictures and the enhancement of radar.

Interestingly, despite only recently going online with this monstrosity, the Air Force Research Lab's Mark Barnell recognises that the Cell technology powering the PS3 is no longer the bees knees, and says "we're looking forward to working with the next generation of architecture".

Which is formal talk for "we're looking forward to going out and buying 2000 PlayStation 4s in a few years time".

Defense Department discusses new Sony PlayStation supercomputer [ - Thanks Brian!]


    That just sounds insanely stupid, they have the money why don't they just buy a real supercomputer... wtf?

      Um, because its cheaper... and it probably does double what a supercomputer does at that price.

      A real supercomputer?! Pray tell, what is that?

      This cluster of PS3s can perform calculations faster than just about anything out there, and you're still not convinced it's a real supercomputer?

      I'd estimate they spent around 2 million on hardware, setting this cluster up. For an equivalent supercomputer, you'd spend 20 times that, or even more. By that standard, it's not so insanely stupid.

    Sony will probable release a firmware update know how they wanna keep the security of there systems...

    Sony loses money on each PS3 sold, and even moreso on the Linux-capable pre-Slim models.

    That's because the cell processor inside the PS3 is expensive to make and tricky to deal with but subsequently has awesome potential - the same reason that there were very few early PS3 games.

    Being able to run some form of Linux kernel on the PS3 gave the Air Force the ability to, in a relatively accessible programming environment, write their very CPU-intensive software and daisychain lots of machines together.

    It's stuff like this that caused the removal of the PS3's Other OS feature. When you buy a PS3 and don't buy any games, Sony loses money.

      Mate, how long have you been hiding under a rock and covering your ears? Sony has been making a profit (or at least, not losing money) on PS3 consoles for a long time now, and you were able install Linux on a PS3 slim - it was the XMB firmware (common to all PS3s) that locked out the "other OS" option, not the hardware itself. Are you confusing it with the PS2 backwards-compatibility in launch consoles?

    This is actually far, far cheaper and easier than buying, installing and testing a supercomputer. And the result is the same - multiple cores, big processing power

    LOL.. the TV is showing a picture of Terminator 2.

    I think what EVERYONE is actually thinking is...

    When do will someone link/network 2000 PS3s together in Minecraft? The resultant entity could then accelerate the game's development into beta stage. Or at least become self-aware and destroy us all.

    Isnt this old, old news? I remember a story a while ago about the the US air force being super pissed about the firmware that disabled Linux installs for this very reason...

    I don't see why the Airforce are pissed with the removal of OtherOs. i didn't think they need to upgrade the ps3 features, or connect to psn anyway?

      But it will drop their value when they try to sell them on ebay when they are finished with them!

        They can't replace them when they get the awesome yellow light

    That looks AWESOME. I just got my computer patiend from this place called Ironside Computers. They don't have a link yet, but they just hired some artists and if you call customer service they'll paint whatever you want. They patiend on a custom emblem that I made from photoshop for me on my desktop. and It definitely looks BEAST.

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