The $133 Million Playstation 3

The Cell microprocesssor is the very powerful heart of the Playstation 3 gaming console. People have found all sorts of uses for them other than playing Assassin's Creed, including using them for medical research through the Folding at Home program. Now the US military has spent $133 million to put together the world's fastest supercomputer, capable of performing over one quadrillion calculations per second (a Petaflop) using almost 13,000 slightly improved versions of the Cell processor, along with some AMD Opterons. They call it Roadrunner.

To put the performance of the machine in perspective, Thomas P. D’Agostino, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that if all six billion people on earth used hand calculators and performed calculations 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner can in one day.

The machine is an unusual blend of chips used in consumer products and advanced parallel computing technologies. The lessons that computer scientists learn by making it calculate even faster are seen as essential to the future of both personal and mobile consumer computing.

The high-performance computing goal, known as a petaflop — one thousand trillion calculations per second — has long been viewed as a crucial milestone by military, technical and scientific organizations in the United States, as well as a growing group including Japan, China and the European Union. All view supercomputing technology as a symbol of national economic competitiveness.

A quadrillion is one thousand million million. The military will have Roadrunner turning its attention to calculations about nuclear weapons, after it has a go at climate modeling for a while.
amdcrankitup 6 years ago
I wonder if that will fit on my desktop. Thats some amazing power.Hmmm got some amd power gng on there!
SqUiD267 6 years ago

 Pretty sweet it uses PS3 processors but im an xbox guy Big Smile

LaMpiR 6 years ago
It looks nice anyway :)
Lev_Astov 6 years ago
Very nice. Anyone know which government agency did this? I wouldn't be surprised if it was ONR. They love this stuff. Or is it the NNSA?
Crisis Causer 6 years ago

Wow.  But what can you really solve with calculations like that?  If it really were beneficial you'd think after about 5 minutes all of the world's problems would be solved.

kid007 6 years ago
that is what i call a wasted of money!! all this supercomputers that are build to make all this random's calculation and we still getting sick! please fill on the blank....
Der Meister 6 years ago

 I would name it  the W.O.P.E.R.   lol

rapid1 6 years ago
I take different spin on this think about it the platform thing AMD has been talking about and what the Nvicia engineer said about the GPU and CPU running as one and about the amount of calculations a GPU versus a CPU is and notice they use a combination of a CPU and a graphics processing CPU setup however the waste of money thing seems normal for the government
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