According to US publication Government Computer News, the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s Condor Cluster project has built a supercomputer from 1,716 Sony PlayStation 3 games consoles.
The magazine quotes Mark Barnell, director of high performance computing and the Condor Cluster project at AFRL, as saying that the computer can handle around 500 trillion floating-point calculations per second (half a petaflop), making it the 35th or 36th fastest computer in the world.
But it’s actually designed to be a green machine with supercomputer capabilities but using less energy. It’s described as ‘the greenest computer in the world’. It’s also (relatively) affordable, with a $2m price tag, compared with at least $50m for a general purpose supercomputers.
I’m not sure what the ‘greenest computer’ claim is based on, but given the EPRI research findings that I cited in my blog last Friday (that a Nintendo Wii system uses six times less power than a Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360 in active mode) perhaps they should try it with a Wii.