Neoseeker : News : PS3 Science; supercomputing with a console.
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Shadow of Death Oct 17, 07
Eh, when are they gonna start making proper CELL based supercomputers?

Naturally, they'd have to increase the number of Cells, and stack the circuit boards, but you could get something more powerful than 8 networked PS3s...
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MicahWrites Oct 17, 07
There is one; CUDA.
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Guest Oct 17, 07
@tallteen86

True about how they can do it, but you are forgetting one BIG thing; performance per dollar. Let's look at these: "His 'gravity grid' of PS3s has been running smoothly for about a month now, and operates at the speed of about 200 of the supercomputer nodes he had previously used.", and "For some time, he had been buying time on supercomputer sites at the going rate of $5,000 bucks per session." Set aside money, the eight PS3's are 25 times faster (200 / 8) than 200 online sessions. With money included, he is paying $1,000,000 for 200 online sessions; whereas he is only paying $4,000 for eight PS3's**. That is 250 times cheaper (1000000 / 4000).

OK, enough about the PS3, let's talk supercomputer. A supercomputer is not cheap; They cost several millions of dollars, probably 10's to 100's of millions (don't quote me on this last part). So performance per dollar is not as great.

You should also note this. Competition. There is not that much competition for a supercomputer, not enough to drop the price at least. On the other hand, the price of the PS3 has gone down by 17%, and looks like it will be going to 33% from $600. You will see the PS3 below the $200 mark for sure within a few years; that is 66% decrease in price, yet the same or even better performance.

@MicahWrites
Are you referring to tallteen86?
I know what you mean, but it is not a supercomputer(which I think you know), and it has its limits. First, CUDA is only single precision (32-bit), the PS3 has both single and double precision (64-bit), and a supercomputer has double precision. Now the PS3's double precision is slow compared to its single precision, but through updating the SDK's, hardware improvements, and many other factors will improve double precision. Secondly, there could be a bottleneck between the GPU and the CPU.

I wonder if he is using the RSX's, too (the graphics card on the PS3 if you did not know).
  • - if it is the 60GB version on sale for $500.
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Shadow of Death Oct 18, 07
I never said it would be cheaper to make a supercomputer based on cell, I was making a related comment...But still, separate from this person's actual budget...So yeah, I made no mention of him buying anything like that, or paying for the right to use it for a period of time...

His idea is REALLY good, I mean, he spends less money (and only once), and gets a more powerful, permanent processing source Honestly, thats a great example of a scientist (astrophysicist) type person who is actually practical A practical intellectual, so to speak...

Imagine a proper Cell based Supercomputer? Would put that Blue Gene one to shame, if they did it right
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MicahWrites Oct 18, 07
We'll probablly start seeing more and more of this type of cluster farm duper computing. In fact, there was some CGI company in Hollywood who used a few dozen Mac Mini's in a render farm. Twenety Mac Mini's may not have the power of a $200.000 super computer, but it's a viable alternaitive at a fraction of the cost.

But what matters most is the megaflop, teraflop and gigaflop floating point operations per second. If $4000 bucks work of PS3's offers more operations per second per dollar than $400,000 worth of super computer, then the choice is clear

Also, as far as I have heard, he got the 8 PS3's for free. Sony would definitely consider it advertising and likely hopes that more research faculties would start using PS3's for their computing simulations.
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Guest Oct 27, 07
IBM are using the cell microprocessor (an upgraded version to the one in the PS3) to make a supercomputer called (or codenamed) Roadrunner.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Roadrunner
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