Air Force Still Using PS3 as 33rd Largest Computer
No, it can't, not without a Blu-ray Disc drive.
We've talked multiple times about the PlayStation 3 cluster that the U.S. Air Force has working for it, doing intense and fast analysis of high-resolution images, and a new story from Cleveland.com brings a few new details.
For one, the USAF now as 1,760 PlayStation 3 consoles that make up its supercomputer called the Condor Cluster. Mark Barnell, the high-performance computing director at the Air Force Research Lab's operation in Rome, NY believes that its PS3 farm is about the 33rd largest computer in the world.
That number could be slipping, however, as newer and faster technologies come into play. When the PlayStation 3 launched, the USAF selected it for both its hardware and price.
"It was very good and revolutionary, and it contained some architecture that didn't exist at that time," Barnell said. "So we're looking forward to working with the next generation of architecture."
To get the same level of power, the USAF would have had to spend $10,000 to get ths same as what could be done by a PS3 at the fraction of the cost. That was some time ago, so now the USAF is looking towards the next generation.
Until then, the USAF will be working with its classic PS3s. It won't be any fun and games, though, as the machines run Linux and have had their Blu-ray Disc drives disabled, likely for both security measures and to prevent endless loops of Avatar in 3D.