Playstation 3 – They’ve Become a Key Part of Military Super Computer

Posted on December 19, 2010


If your husband spends more time with PlayStation 3 than he does with you, he’s probably attempting to wire a few of them together and get the computing power of our military.  The remarkable article about what the military is doing with hundreds of  PlayStation 3s below will explain better than low tech SamHenry what has happened.

Remember how the US Air Force bought a ton of PlayStation 3 consoles then strung them together? Ever wonder just why the military would do a thing like that? Well, it’s not for playing Killzone on.

Indeed, you couldn’t play it – or any other disc-based PS3 game – if you tried, as every PS3 you see pictured above has had its Blu-ray drive functionality removed.

In all, 1760 consoles have been joined with “168 separate graphical processing units and 84 coordinating servers” to form what the Air Force is calling “the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department”. It’s also, the military claims, the 33rd largest computer of any kind in the world.

This “rat king” of PlayStation 3s will be used for things like research into AI, fast processing of satellite pictures and the enhancement of radar.

Interestingly, despite only recently going online with this monstrosity, the Air Force Research Lab’s Mark Barnell recognises that the Cell technology powering the PS3 is no longer the bees knees, and says “we’re looking forward to working with the next generation of architecture”.

Which is formal talk for “we’re looking forward togoing out and buying 2000 PlayStation 4s in a few years time”.

Defense Department discusses new Sony PlayStation supercomputer [Cleveland.com, via Gamasutra]

Send an email to the author of this post at plunkett@kotaku.com. [kotaku]

To date, the Chinese have the fastest computer but we aren’t playing.  We’re playing around with PlayStation 3 and what it can do for us.  You’ve gotta love American ingenuity.

Posted in: Uncategorized