In the past decade, engineer Gaurav Hanna, from the Physics Department of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, built his own version of a supercomputer using 200 PlayStation 3 consoles. The military learned about its development, and the US Air Force ordered a similar, only much more powerful cluster. It was named "Condor Cluster" and became the 33rd most powerful supercomputer at the time. Now that the secrecy label has been removed, you can tell more about it.
Three factors won over the American military when choosing game consoles over conventional PCs. First, it was a simple, widespread, and affordable product. Second, the consoles were great for working with high-definition graphics. And it was planned to use Condor Cluster just for the analysis of satellite photographs and object recognition.
But the main reason is definitely financial. The Air Force has allocated an investment of $ 10, 000 for each computing module in the supercomputer. And PlayStation 3 consoles were sold for only $ 400 - the benefits are more than obvious. Thoughts about budget savings have so absorbed the attention of the military that they have not properly studied security issues. The PlayStation 3 worked perfectly on Linux, but subsequent checks revealed so many vulnerabilities that further projects on this platform were automatically blocked.
The very same Condor Cluster was built, launched and brought some benefits. It consisted of 1, 760 Playstation 3, of which 186 graphics units and 84 coordinating servers were formed. The working performance of the supercomputer was an impressive 500 teraflops.
Gaurav Hanna with a supercomputer built at the university