Thursday, October 18, 2007

PS3 and Astrophysics: Perfect Combination?

A news article from Wired.com shows one of the many things you can do with your PS3 while waiting for games to become available: wire 8 of them up and replace your favorite supercomputer with them. And that's exactly what Gaurav Khanna, astrophysicist, just did--he's using such a rig to solve "celestial mystery involving gravitational waves", and find out "what happens when a super-massive black hole, about a million times the mass of our own sun, swallows up a star".

The PS3s are all set up to run Linux, and by taking advantage of the powerful Cell processor, Khanna was able to harness massive amounts of computational power from the eight consoles, comparable to that of a supercomputer.

It's also much cheaper than traditional supercomputers--according to Khanna, one supercomputer for this purpose would set him back as much as $5,000 (in form of grants), while eight 60gb PS3s would only cost him $3,200.

This is the second instance I've read about the PS3 being used for scientific research (the first one was about brain research and androids). I hope more and more scientists begin to see the true potential of the PS3 and invest on it, since this might attract developers, and the additional profit might help Sony make the damn thing cheaper for us people with no money. :(

1 comment:

mike said...

thats such a cool set-up., really perfect for a cool combination