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NY Times/CNET News: From PlayStation to Supercomputer

May 28, 2003, 17:30 (5 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Matt for this link. ]

"As perhaps the clearest evidence yet of the power of sophisticated but inexpensive game consoles, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has assembled a supercomputer from an army of Sony PlayStation 2 devices.

"The resulting system, with components purchased at retail prices, cost a little more than $50,000. Researchers at the supercomputing center believe the system may be capable of a half trillion operations a second, well within the definition of supercomputer, although it may not rank among the world's 500 fastest supercomputers.

"Perhaps the most striking aspect of the project, which uses the open-source Linux operating system, is that the only hardware engineering involved was placing 70 of the individual game machines in a rack and plugging them together with a high-speed Hewlett-Packard network switch. The center's scientists bought 100 machines but are holding 30 in reserve, possibly for high-resolution display application..."

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