US Air Force orders 2,200 PS3s

Government's aviation arm to expand its current console-based cluster powered by Sony's Cell processor to broaden supercomputer research.

by

Engineers outside of the game industry continue to find uses for the powerful Cell processors housed within Sony's PlayStation 3. Last week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Center said that it had begun using networked PS3s to crack encrypted caches of child pornography. The console has also been used as part of the Folding@home disease research project.

This week, it's the US Air Force that has begun to expand its current network of PS3s used for supercomputing research. As reported by Information Week, the Air Force plans to purchase 2,200 PS3s to add to its current network of 336 systems, which is housed at the Air Force Research Laboratory's information directorate in Rome, New York.

The PS3 is nothing if not multifunctional.

According to the Air Force's requisition form, its current PS3 cluster has studied such topics as Back Projection Synthetic Aperture Radar Imager formation, High Definition Video image processing, and Neuromorphic Computing. The expanded network will be used to study various software applications, including Advanced Computing Architectures and High Performance Embedded Computing.

The Air Force's form also notes that while the PS3's processor is less powerful than other Cell-based processors, it is substantially less expensive.

"With respect to cell processors, a single 1U server configured with two 3.2GHz cell processors can cost up to $8K while two Sony PS3s cost approximately $600," the form reads. "Though a single 3.2 GHz cell processor can deliver over 200 gigaflops, whereas the Sony PS3 configuration delivers approximately 150 gigaflops, the approximately tenfold cost difference per gigaflops makes the Sony PS3 the only viable technology for [high performance computing] applications."

Information Week reports that the Department of Defense awarded the Air Force Research Laboratory $2 million in June to conduct its Cell processor-based studies as part of its High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Discussion

490 comments
shakensparco
shakensparco

Sony probably loses money on each console sold, but charges so much for games and accessories to make up for it. That's how home consoles are always more affordable than PC's, because the extra cost of games and controllers makes up for the difference.

AlfaxD_Centauro
AlfaxD_Centauro

-US Air Force thing -Folding@Home -Other Research for diseases using the PS3 Processor. Thank you PS3 =). PS3 is not for Gaming and Entertainment at all...

madSomnambulist
madSomnambulist

If this is what law enforcement and military developers honestly thought was most cost-effective way to network things together and get something done most efficiently? I don't care if it's a PS3 or a black and white TV getting it don, it means they've actually paying attention to the money. Shocking! 200 gigaflops max vs 150 is a far smaller difference that I'd ever have guessed vs what they had been using. I'm also doubting there'll be pictures of anyone playing, the consoles much be jury-rigged like mad ...And even if there were, I'd pay for that kind of "scandal" vs what we usually get any day of the week.

paquitox
paquitox

@necronaux. "Who was the idiot that awarded the military contract paying $8K for a chip that should have cost $300 bucks? Someone's getting a kickback." It wouldn't be the first time, nonetheless its great theyr getting the best of such a sweet console. Wouldn't be surprise if one day the PS3 makes u dinner or answer ur phone, my god!

LastPRmarine
LastPRmarine

That was funny score one for US law enforcement

necronaux
necronaux

And you thought the S.W.A.T. team getting caught playing Nintendo Wii for 8 hours was bad... only a matter of time before footage shows up with AF playing PS3.

necronaux
necronaux

Who was the idiot that awarded the military contract paying $8K for a chip that should have cost $300 bucks? Someone's getting a kickback.

GM-XP-L9
GM-XP-L9

Another way to prove that the PS3 is a Masterpiece.

TevoxZi
TevoxZi

@AMT6400 [quote="AMT6400"] (Trust me, I've had plenty of customers bring back new PS3s cause of the YLoD "yellow light of death" including the new slims...mistakes do happen). And as far as exclusives, I still don't have a reason to buy a PS3... [/quote] Busted yourself, didn't you? :D You've had customer bring backs on PS3, even though you're pointing out you don't have the system by not being worth to "buy" one. Why would you buy something that you already own, if you really did own it? Also, YLOD is way less common than RROD, argue or not. I'd like to hear for what reasons have you had to put PS3 to the customer bring back.

10679
10679

@kamizuka Was he playing it on very high settings for everything including the resolution because in order to play max settings for crysis, you need to spend quite a bit of money to upgrade the computer. Well i will accept your opinion but i still think games like uncharted , gears of war 2 , assassin creed 2 are just as good looking as killzone 2 if not better. Well the crysis tech demo that showed running on both consoles proved to be pretty impressive as it looked close to max settings and that stage the engine was not even close to completion, Like you said time will tell and i faith in the power of consoles.

ThaElementz
ThaElementz

@Algolagnia That may be true, but they used 2,200 PS3s for a reason.

Algolagnia
Algolagnia

Link 2200 of anything together and you'll get alot of power, be it car batteries, consoles, or computers. Not that impressive really.

kamizuka
kamizuka

@10679 i just checked out crysis on my brothers "Super PC" and imp it looks Really good, even thought the game is old you can still compare it to killzone. now i realized that killzone is the best graphics ever made on a console, so the new grysis might look better than killzone on a Pc but not consoles, only time can tell. i moved from ps2 to xbox(that felt like a different galasy), but now i have the ps3(xbox died on me) and it seems like an other planet

10679
10679

@kamizuka First of all i have all three consoles so there is no bias between any consoles. Nope when i first played it i got bored as the game focus less on stealth when you compare to mgs1 and more of action like that found in MGS3. when i picked up again few months ago , i noticed how badly the environment and how pixelated the game was and the only nice thing about game was the cut scenes . Dude i have a sony bravia TV that has full HD so i know that killzone 2 is nowhere close to crysis graphics on very high settings. Hence why they are making a new engine that is scalable because they can't use cryengine 2 on consoles as the consoles won't be able to handle it. Crysis graphics even though is very old still look pretty damn good. I highly killzone 2 will look that good in few years as we already seen in mgs4. I understand why you would say that as you most likely stuck with the ps2 which was only good for the games but the graphics were crap so when the ps3 came out there was huge leap in graphics . Almost like going from galaxy to another and if i saw that i mostly likely would say the same thing as you did.

emartinez007
emartinez007

thats so they could have something cheap to blow up...

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

@RastafariXalpha i think you make a great point about exclusives sir. never seen that mentioned before and its a really good point. I think everyone should just appreciate the consoles for what they are instead of bashing them because some are better in different ways.

kamizuka
kamizuka

@10679 it is ok for someone to prefer a console over the other. you prefer the xbox, so then you prefer it's graphics. same thing for me...saying that MGs4 have aged is because every fanboy that played thegame was focusing on the environment just because they told him "the graphics have aged". crysis better that killzone?? it is because you never played the game while going to the Display-settings and setting the RPG color to full increasing the gamma in-game, playing on a FullHD tv

papavicio
papavicio

@10679 if that makes u happy its ur right , happy thanks giving

issizots
issizots

lol can't even post on this website due to some "censored" word that's not even censored, WOW can i post this?

issizots
issizots

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

10679
10679

@papavicio "Autolycus so at the end of all your "smart conclusions" since" the 360 has better hardware for graphics" which xbox exclusive look better than mgs4, uncharted 2 and kill zone 2...silence then excuse in 5 , 4 ,3 ,2 , 1 ...man just let the games show what we say ,mean while let me go play the game of the year (uncharted 2)" There are plenty of xbox 360 exclusives that look better than mgs4 . One great example would be gears of war2 . Mgs4 graphics have aged pretty badly. play it now and you can see what i mean. When i played recently i noticed the average environment graphics and character models. The only nice thing about the graphics is when you have a cutscene and they focus on two payers. That kind of graphics can be done easily if you are only focussing on two people. Secondly crysis has better graphics than killzone2 and if crysis can be done on 360 than killzone 2 graphics can be achieved easily on 360 and i still prefer gears of war 2 graphics but then thats my own opinion. Thirdly uncharted 2 does not have the best graphics in this generation as Gears of war 2 graphics is just as good but then again its my opinion and i am entitled to that.

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

anyone in here arguing about which console is better, youre all idiots. saying things like "The 360 STILL though continues to hold back the true potential of multi platform gaming..." thats just stupid. its up to the developers what they do. you could also argue that the difficulty and high cost in developing for PS3 is holding back games. The wii is much less powerful than the 360, is it holding back games? no, no it is not. shut up, you arent part of the games industry youre just a consumer. the facts about the consoles pros and cons are obvious and have already been realized and pointed out by countless fanboys. shut up and play your games. i have all the consoles. I like some games on some, and other games on others, that has always been the case ever since I started playing games on NES, SNES, and Genisis. There are always multiple platforms that have different advantages. It seems like all you fanboys like arguing about games more than you like playing them.

RastafariXalpha
RastafariXalpha

dude who cares about console superiority all this stuff bashing other consoles sounds so stupid,and pathetic, all the games look pretty much the same on each console, yes argue all u want, but when it comes down to it there all awesome in there own ways, i own wii ps3 360 and a new core i7 pc, i just decided to wait a few years ago save up and buy all of em, slash build my pc, im a lover of technology and they all offer awesome stuff, the ps3's cell chip is the first of its kind, its actually got a long way to go outside of consoles, some new tv's are using it, and soon more and more devices will utilize cell chips, but that doesnt mean the end of pc end chips which are still proving to be a major compeditor when i comes to graphics and teraflop comparisons... some of those pc screens are pretty amazing with all therer anti alaizing, and filtering effects, look at modern warfare 2 comparison shots and dont tell me that consoles looked beter then pc's i mean dam....... they looked good, anyway i lost my point. all consoles rule and exclusies rule cos they are made purely for the hardware that they are developed for.

Williedude87
Williedude87

@ ninja_where "Country Leaders get it because it could be used to create a Weapon of Mass Destruction?" This has actually happened, with the Playstation 2. "Could Sony's video games machine, Playstation 2, be used to launch an actual nuclear war? Apparently Japan's Ministry of Trade seriously thinks it could. The Ministry's slapped export controls on what's already the world's most sought after games machine saying it contains parts which could be used in real life missile guidance systems"

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

And people used to complain that the PS3 used to be too expensive... :)

shkar
shkar

I guess the children of the generals will sneak in to the control room and use the ps3 for playing........

mattisgod01
mattisgod01

The PS3 linked to child pornography...classic.

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

@AMT6400, Whatever you say, BUT PS3 doesn't have a 60% FAILURE RATE! :P

rafaelp11
rafaelp11

@ninja_where - may be they were just making an excuse, their research bla bla bla... it's that bad to admit that they want to play this cool and awesome games hahahahaha...

ninja_where
ninja_where

Woah...weren't there news about the PS3 catching child pornorgraphers a few days ago? Now, the PS3 helps out with supercomputer research? Now, I'm beyond amazed. What's next? Country Leaders get it because it could be used to create a Weapon of Mass Destruction? Well, it's either they're using it for that or they just want to play some awesome games like Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, Ratchet and Clank, and all those great games. But who could blame them? The PS3 is certainly a big behemoth when it comes to being multipurpose.

L30KinG
L30KinG

now the commertials are staring to make sence huh?

issizots
issizots

@AMT6400 ppl bash the 360 because IT'S HOLDING BACK PROGRESS WITH GAMING, haven't you read(since you're obviously saying you're in the gaming retail biz) that alottt of multi platform games being made are TONED down because of the lack of power the 360 has? You seem to "think" you have all the numbers knowing your comparisons to RROD vs YLOD but you couldn't know those numbers unless you were keeping actual track(wrote down each fault vs fault) and i really don't think you're doing that, overall stastics are what matters(nation-wide) and the overall stastics see the xbox 360 yeilding what? over 25% RROD compared to just under 10% YLOD(ETC). So i'm quite sure you've "not" seen AS many YLOD compared to RROD. The 3 year warranty was also NOT the original warranty for the 360 aswell.. M$ implemented it upon seeing all the havoc of customers bashing them for making a machine so unstable, so to all kindness extended the warranty(instead of what I thought should have RECALLED and remodeled the console to work better OVERALL). But even a warranty extension doesn't satisfy any gamer who has to wait almost a MONTH to send/recieve their console due to faulty errors that the company KNOWS they can fix to begin with. THAT'S why we bash the 360 and i'm sure other people have their own experiences and explainations aswell... happy thanksgiving btw fokes.

issizots
issizots

actually i'm quite sure the air force @Narnyfield will probally experiement with PS3's. With the power it would be a great chance for them amongst other sectors of our military to result to new simulation for real experiences as the PS3 could ultimately deliver henceforth bring more income if something like that does happen. The PS3 is a great choice to power Flight Simulators and Combat Simulators even with MAG, the way the game is with 256 People could bring new ways of how the military consults their simulations such as simulating exercises instead with 4 people they could use 100+ people networked in training simulations. Quite a good idea if you think about it, and with that many ps3's networked anything is possible.

issizots
issizots

this should shut up those 360 fanboys for a while, if their so called 360 was "so superior" it would be the choice of the government NOT the ps3. As I keep saying the 360 is SO last-generation of gaming. The 360 STILL though continues to hold back the true potential of multi platform gaming like final fantasy XIII, alot of changes have been made for FFXIII to run smoothly on the 360 hence taking away alot of optimal performance from the ps3 version. I just don't see WHY square enix or any other developer/publisher for that matter won't just let games be made to run better on another console IF a game is capible of doing so. No sense in taking away GREAT progress and throwing it ALL away due to one console not being able to run it. Not the PS3's fault the xbox 360 is getting too old for the start of a new revolution of gaming. Hence more disc space for one, and we all know what the ultimate solution for the 360 is...."time for an upgrade!!" Atleast Sony is still sporting the ps2(last gen) unlike M$ which totally threw away the original XBOX, it's not even heard of anymore, sorta like the 360 was made first from the start. something you're trying to hide M$ bout ur last(last) gen console?

trodeback
trodeback

It's good to see that PS sales are going to go up. I'd hate to see another good game manufacturer go belly up. Even if I've never owned a PS console. Competition creates innovation.

xXZak-ataKXx
xXZak-ataKXx

ps3 really is good,im glad that i have one. :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

OrianaDorta
OrianaDorta

It only does everything :D PS3, what a powerful system.

Narnyfied
Narnyfied

@Cow tipping It shouldn't count in the sales war because Sony are still making a loss on machines. They only make a profit when all the peripherals are bought with it, something the US Air force won't do because they have no use for them. But it is a great marketing coup.

AMT6400
AMT6400

This is a very interesting read...it's great to see more uses out of a system than just gaming...but on another note (sigh get your fingers ready to flame me fanboys) I don't see why PS3 fans have to go on bashing the 360...I understand the RROD but Microsoft puts a three year warranty on it...and yes PS3 has just as many problems as any console (Trust me, I've had plenty of customers bring back new PS3s cause of the YLoD "yellow light of death" including the new slims...mistakes do happen). And as far as exclusives, I still don't have a reason to buy a PS3...I mean I do believe Uncharted and Killzone are great exclusives but I already have a 360...why buy another system? 360 still has some awesome games (and yes I love Gears 2 and no I can't stand Halo) so stop bashing 360 and feel great about YOUR console...all this whining about how great your exclusives are over 360's exclusives only shows your ignorance...

Cow_tipping
Cow_tipping

i wonder if this counts in the sales war against nintendo and MS

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Dont use this as another reason to bash xbox players.Just take pride that your ps3s can be used for something this important.

Pwnd56
Pwnd56

METAL GEAR PARTY!!! W00T!!

Nemesis69-
Nemesis69-

I bet they will be playing alot on their PS3's while not working.

kamizuka
kamizuka

"UC 2 DID show that Cell and the SPU's can be used really well for gaming. AND that is just the begining" not only UC2 even the best graphicly game made(killzone2) if you ever played online on a full Long 30m game on "Redec Academy" with all the bombs and RPGs and lots of stuff going up and down