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PlayStation (Games) Sony Supercomputing The Military Games Linux

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."
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US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s

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  • Re:Cell processor (Score:4, Informative)

    by huge ( 52607 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @05:49AM (#30224124)

    Are we still at the point where we can't get hold of Cell processors for machines specifically designed for this sort of task?

    I haven't checked the details yet, but I was told that IBM QS21 [ibm.com] is Cell based blade system

  • Re:Cell processor (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:13AM (#30224244)

    Didn't you hear? IBM have effectively killed the Cell.

    End of the line for IBM's Cell
    IBM has revealed that the Cell processor line is an evolutionary dead-end. Some of the ideas behind it will live on, but the Cell family itself will not
    Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:15AM (#30224266) Journal

    That's a genuinely good point, I wonder if Sony would help them out on this or if they are getting the old one or what?
    I don't have much of a use for linux on mine TBH, it was far too goddamn slow (and I'm no linux guru) it really does need 1gb or more of ram, then she'd be fine.
    That being said, sucks for researchers who wanted this.

  • Re:Cell processor (Score:3, Informative)

    by STFS ( 671004 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:11AM (#30226098) Homepage
    I'm not sure this data is valid still but according to http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2008/11/putting-the-ps3s-brain-to-work.ars [arstechnica.com] there is a huge difference between a PS3 and a QS21 blade in terms of price/performance... in favor of the PS3!!!

    Since most academic research groups are not overly flush with cash, the authors put these results in terms that someone holding the purse strings would understand. It terms of computing power per cost, the PS3 delivers 50,000 LUPS/dollar, the super high performance IBM QS20/QS21 runs at 3500 LUPS/dollar, while a quadcore desktop machine is capable of putting out 17,000 LUPS/dollar.

    However, there seems to be the issue with the memory though:

    The researchers point out that LB simulations take a large amount of RAM and, when moving to a three-dimensional simulation, the amount of RAM will become very important. Since the PS3 has only 256 MB of RAM, even moderately sized 3D grids could end up being written and read into swap memory, which would be a significant performance bottleneck.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:13PM (#30227620)
    If you check out the fbo.gov link in the article, it says they are purchasing units of the CECHP01 SKU, which is a 160GB/65nm variant of the old style which still offered OtherOS support.
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by kriston ( 7886 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:03PM (#30228266) Homepage Journal

    Did we read the proposal linked from the article? It specifies PlayStation 3 model CECHP01 which does, indeed, run Linux. I wondered, though, how successful they are going to be at finding 2,200 units. Distributors are running out of new/old stock of this model, as many compute cluster builders are trying to get them before they're all gone.

    Here is the proposal for those who didn't actually bother to RFA:
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=bac60f8808fa1e221597573901a7cd6b&tab=core&_cview=1&cck=1&au=&ck= [fbo.gov]

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.