In the past decade, the engineer Gaurav Khanna, from the physics Department at Dartmouth University of Massachusetts (USA) built their own version of a supercomputer using 200 PlayStation 3 consoles. About its development learned in the military, and the USAF ordered the same, only much more powerful cluster. He was called the “Condor Cluster” and became the 33rd power among the supercomputers of that time. Now, when the secrecy lifted, we can talk about it more.
When choosing game consoles instead of the usual PC us military bribed three factors. First, it was a simple, widespread and affordable product. Secondly, the console is perfectly suited to work with high-resolution graphics. And the use of the Condor Cluster was planned for the analysis of satellite images and object recognition.
But the main reason, of course, financial. The air force has allocated investments at the rate of $10,000 for each compute module as part of the supercomputer. And a PlayStation 3 sold for just under $400 – the benefits are more than obvious. Thinking about budget savings so absorbed the attention of the military that they have not studied how should security issues. PlayStation 3 works perfectly under Linux, but subsequent checks revealed many vulnerabilities that further projects on this platform was automatically blocked.
Himself Condor Cluster was built, launched and brought some benefit. It consisted of 1760 Playstation 3, which formed 186 graphical units and 84 coordinating servers. The working performance of the supercomputer has built up an impressive 500 teraflops.