PS3 Condor Cluster Super Computer
The U.S. Air Force’s monster PS3 super computer, the Condor Cluster…
The PlayStation 3 tops the bill as one of the most popular gaming console in history. In fact it was so worthy of its time that the U.S Air Force Research Laboratory set upon a four-year-long project to string together a bus load of the consoles to create one of the military’s most powerful super-computers.
The Condor Cluster, as the system is know, is made up of 1,760 PS3’s consoles, 168 separate graphical processing units (GPU) and 84 coordinating servers.
PlayStation 3 Condor Cluster Super-Computer
Director of High Power Computing for the AFRL, Mark Barnell, said the system is capable of performing 500 trillion floating point operations per second (500 TFLOPS), and only consumes around one-tenth of the power compared to other computers its size.
The Air Force worked with Sony and a distributor to secure parts and negotiate logistics for the project. And with the total development costs tilling in at $2 million, the system is also extremely cheap; around five to ten percent the price of a similar sized system built from off-the-shelf parts.
The Condor Cluster uses the older bulkier PS3s and takes advantage of its ability to accept and installation of the Linux OS. Using the Linux OS was essential in configuring the system and because the OS is open source, the system is highly interactive and allows users to do what they want.
Although the technology that makes up the Condor Cluster is a now somewhat dated, the sheer size of the system places it in 33rd place in the ranks of the world’s largest super-computer.
The Condor Cluster is house in Rome, New York, and will be accessible by Air Force service branches and centers throughout the country. Its main tasks will be to enhance radar technology, process ultra-high-resolution satellite images and research date on artificial intelligence.
- Kyle Orland: U.S. Air Force Creates Powerful Supercomputer Out Of PS3s. Gamasutra, 11/30/2010.
- Clay Dillow: Air Force Unveils Fastest Defense Supercomputer, Made of 1,760 PlayStation 3s. PopSci, 12/02/2010.
- Defense Department discusses new Sony PlayStation supercomputer. Cleveland, 11/30/2010.