(image credit: Air Force Research Laboratory)
well, the US Air Force didn’t actually use the Playstation 3 console as a whole, much less to play games. in fact, what the US Air Force did was using more than 1,700 Sony PS3 processors. the supercomputer which also incorporates 168 separate graphical processing units, is capable of crunching 500 trillions calculations per second. that’s like 50, 000 times faster than your average laptop.
by using off-the-shelf components, it reduces the cost of the supercomputer. according to Mark Barnell (director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s high-power computing division), the system cost somewhere around US$2 million, “which is a cost savings of between 10 to 20 times for the equivalent capability.” at least tax payers know that the Department of Defense is ‘trying not to spend too much’ which should be good for PR, though not everyone will be amused.
the system, dubbed the Condor Cluster will undertake a range of tasks which include synthetic aperture radar enhancement and a bunch of other stuff which, we commoners, would never understand. maybe that’s why we always lament how our money was being spend frivolously for defense.