the following is an excript from some site I found while surfing blindly across the web, thought I'd share this one, it's hysterical:
PlayStation Supercomputer. Only $50,000.
by Dave Murphy
The computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's National Center for Supercomputing Applications have cobbled together Sony PlayStation 2s to form a Linux cluster that may calculate a half trillion operations a second, creating one of the least expensive supercomputers on the planet.
NCSA's researchers now have 70 PS/2 consoles running as a cluster using an Ethernet network. Some of the tools commonly found on more traditional high-performance computing clusters have been integrated into the system, including the Message Passing Interface (MPI), which allows the individual consoles to communicate with each other and execute application across all of the machines simultaneously, and the Portable Batch System (PBS) and Maui Scheduler, which manage jobs on cluster systems.
Using an earlier version of Red Hat Linux and a high-speed Hewlett-Packard network switch to connect the PS/2s, the NCSA staff took advantage of the graphics coprocessor, the Emotion Engine rather than the PS/2s MIPS microprocessor because the Emotion Engine is capable of producing up to 6.5 billion mathematical operations a second. The scientists are also reviewing other consumer hardware, such as one of the Nvidia graphics cards that is capable of 51 billion mathematical operations a second. It's ironic that the computing power comes not from the primary processor but from the graphics processor.
Two of the hurdles the scientists faced were 1) working within the limited RAM available to the PS/2, 32MB, and 2) removing the plastic packaging that held the Sony systems.
But other than a few smart people, the free Linux operating system, wires and an HP switch, only a system rack was required to bring the whole computer together. The total budget is about $50,000, a far cry from millions that are usually spent on a supercomputer.
The system is crunching data, already running calculations on quantum chromodynamics (QCD) simulations. QCD is the proposed theory of the so-called strong interactions that bind quarks and gluons together to form hadrons-the constituents of nuclear matter such as the proton and neutron.
Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments on the message center.