Thursday, December 16, 2010

COMPUTERS - Air Force Supercomputer

"Air Force Uses PS3 Game Consoles to Build Supercomputer" by Brian Kalish, NextGov 12/16/2010

Video game consoles are now more than just for fun. An Air Force supercomputer, built from off-the-shelf components, includes 1,716 PlayStation 3 game consoles.

The machine, known as the Condor Cluster, is estimated to be one of the greenest computers in the world. And if that wasn't enough, it also is the 35th or 36th fastest computer in the world, said Mark Barnell, director of high performance computing and the Condor Cluster project at the Air Force Research Laboratory, reported Government Computer News.

One of the main reasons to use PS3 processors was cost. Condor cost about $2 million to build, compared to $50 million to $80 million for a similar supercomputer, the Air Force said in a news release.

The computer also can read 20 pages of information per second, which makes it about 50,000 times faster than the average laptop, CNET reported.

Initial tasks for the machine, located in Rome, N.Y., include neuromorphic artificial intelligence research, in which programmers will teach the computer to read symbols, letters, words and sentences so it can fill in human gaps and correct human errors, CNET reported.

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