Absolute Moral Authority

Because plain old moral authority just wasn’t good enough — a mesablue production

Sony supercomputer?

Posted by mesablue on October 17, 2007

Creative computing:

Astrophysicist Replaces Supercomputer with Eight PlayStation 3s

a cluster of eight interlinked PS3s is busy solving a celestial mystery involving gravitational waves and what happens when a super-massive black hole, about a million times the mass of our own sun, swallows up a star.

As the architect of this research, Dr. Gaurav Khanna is employing his so-called “gravity grid” of PS3s to help measure these theoretical gravity waves — ripples in space-time that travel at the speed of light — that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity predicted would emerge when such an event takes place.

It turns out that the PS3 is ideal for doing precisely the kind of heavy computational lifting Khanna requires for his project, and the fact that it’s a relatively open platform makes programming scientific applications feasible.

“The interest in the PS3 really was for two main reasons,” explains Khanna, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth who specializes in computational astrophysics. “One of those is that Sony did this remarkable thing of making the PS3 an open platform, so you can in fact run Linux on it and it doesn’t control what you do.”

Yeah, but can it play Halo 3? I think not.

3 Responses to “Sony supercomputer?”

  1. geoff said

    For many years I’ve wanted to write a radiation heat transfer program for one of the game platforms, since they’re optimized for those sorts of calculations (the radiation calcs are pretty much the same as the calcs the 3D graphics engines do routinely to figure out what your view on the screen should look like). Didn’t really know how to get started writing code for PlayStations or X-Boxes, though.

    But now, now I have an excuse to get a PS3!

  2. Gizmo said

    IIRC that is actually the task that led to the idea of creating a 3d engine in the first place.

    “Hey! we could do this with light rays!!!”

  3. geoff said

    IIRC that is actually the task that led to the idea of creating a 3d engine in the first place.

    Is that right? Did not know that.

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