Dave Tobin writes in the Syracuse Post-Standard:
Rome, NY — Computer scientists just up the Thruway at Rome’s Air Force Research Lab have assembled one of the world’s largest, fastest and cheapest supercomputers — and it’s made from PlayStation 3s.
By linking together 1,716 PlayStation 3s, they’ve created a supercomputer that’s very good at processing, manipulating and interpreting vast amounts of imagery. This will provide analysts with new levels of detail from the pictures gathered on long surveillance flights by spy planes.
The PlayStation 3 is a video gaming console that originally sold for about $500. It was developed by Sony, released in 2006 and is known for its sizzlingly clear video graphics.
The Air Force calls the souped-up PlayStations the Condor Supercomputer and says it is among the 40 fastest computers in the world. The Condor went online late last year, and it will likely change the way the Air Force and the Air National Guard watch things on the ground.
The creation, while offbeat, illustrates the modern job for the operation that began as Rome Air Development Center in 1951, researching radar. It has survived the closing of Griffiss Air Force Base in 1995 to find a new niche.
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