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USAF Unveils Supercomputer Made of 1,760 PS3s

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the going-for-the-gusto dept.

PlayStation (Games) 163

digitaldc writes with this excerpt from Gamasutra: "The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has connected 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems together to create what the organization is calling the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department. The Condor Cluster, as the group of systems is known, also includes 168 separate graphical processing units and 84 coordinating servers in a parallel array capable of performing 500 trillion floating point operations per second (500 TFLOPS), according to AFRL Director of High Power Computing Mark Barnell."

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So... (0)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437662)

Does that mean it can run Crysis in HD, then?

Re:So... (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437706)

Of course not...

its running linux!

I don't know if WINE does HD.

This post started as a joke - I don't know what it is now.

Re:So... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438482)

Wine doesn't run on PS3's because WINE Is Not an Emulator and requires an x86 CPU. And even if it did run on PPC, the display output on the PS3 under Linux is unaccelerated framebuffer.

Don't Update (5, Informative)

PaddyM (45763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437668)

Don't get the firmware update that gets rid of Linux. OOPS!

Re:Don't Update (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437858)

More importantly, don't let any of them wear out...Seriously, the USAF should sue Sony to get replacement machines that *will* boot Linux!!!...and make Sony sell them to the rest of us (along with the software PS2 emulation, if they won't give us the Emotion Engine chips for hardware emulation).

Re:Don't Update (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438084)

Man, what is the value of 1760 PS3s without the stolen feature? They're sitting on a GOLD MINE. Isn't that the kinda thing that should be privatized?

Re:Don't Update (2)

HazMat 79 (1481233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438374)

Well if ya just guess they paid $400 for each PS3 that would put it north of $700,000 for PS3s alone. Not counting the other GPUs and servers. Just wondering because I have never been in the market for a supercomputer, but how much would it cost for a "normal" supercomputer.

Re:Don't Update (1)

C_L_Lk (1049846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438574)

10 times that much or more... building a computer with 500 TFLOPS for under $1mil is a pretty good deal no matter how you look at it.

Re:Don't Update (3, Insightful)

i_b_don (1049110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438942)

I wouldn't say "no matter how you look at it".

Super computing is also a lot about pushing those large quantities of data around and the programming that allows you to use that theoretical 500 TFLOPS of power. You could end up with something that can do significant calculations but just uses 100baseT to push data around. That's just isn't very efficient for many uses of super computers, and certainly not a world class number cruncher. Just to give you something to compare it against, super computers today are looking to have 10 Tbps switches on backplanes. That's 10 Tbps of information passing through the switch hooking up a rack of servers.

IMHO, hardware super computer engineering hurdles are about four things: processing power, data pipelines, memory, and dissipating heat. You can't fail any one of those four if you want something usable. (Software engineering hurdles I'll leave to experts as I am not one.)

d

Re:Don't Update (2)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438614)

As of 2007, IBM's Blue Gene/P system cost $1.3M per rack, and the Blue Gene/L cost $800K (per a PCWorld story entitled http://www.pcworld.com/article/135334/ibm_drops_price_on_supercomputer.html [pcworld.com] ). However, it should be noted that the hardware cost of such systems doesn't reflect the total configuration and operating cost. Many news outlets have reported on the favorable overall cost effectiveness of building supercomputing clusters with PS3s. Yellow Dog Linux [fixstars.com] has features specifically designed to support the Cell/B.E. CPU.

Re:Don't Update (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438714)

700K is cheap for a supercomputer. Prices can be as high as $125 million (IBM Roadrunner), $88 million (Tianhe-I), even $700 million (Earth Simulator). Hell, Tianhe-I uses $20 million in power and maintenance per year. Yeah, all those computers are several times above the scale of this one, but the price per teraflop is probably pretty good.

Don't upgrade the firmware. (2)

longtailedhermit (1544819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437682)

I hope they don't accidentally update the firmware. (I think the latest updates will wipe the linux installation.)

Re:Don't upgrade the firmware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437718)

How can they "accidentally" update the firmware? I'm pretty sure the AFRL isn't using this to play Blu-Rays and get on PSN.

Re:Don't upgrade the firmware. (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438518)

You can't accidentally update a PS3, when upgrading from 3.20 and earlier it requires you to confirm...TWICE, and tells you what will happen when you do.

Re:Don't upgrade the firmware. (1)

longtailedhermit (1544819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438870)

That's good to know. I don't own one, yet, but I'd like to buy an older one for that reason and for gaming, of course.

Why? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437704)

Why exactly did they do this? And why with PS3s of all things?

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437736)

Cheaper then the IBM CELL Blades...

Re:Why? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438102)

I still wish I could have been a fly on the wall when this purchase order went through:

Purchasing Agent: Excuse me Colonel, I just got a purchase order signed by you for 1,700 video games systems, I don't know how that happened but I wanted to call and correct...

Colonel: No, that's correct, 1760 PS3 video game systems, you see we're building a...

PA: I can't buy you 1760 video game consoles, they'll fire me.

C: No really, it's a valid project, you see we're going to build a huge cell process...

PA: Colonel, please... Let's send this to over to Bob and let him buy it... I never liked Bob anyways...

C: No really look, this all really technical and...

PA: It's no problem, Colonel, I transferred the PO to Bob. He'll set you up...

C: ... :click: :Colonel's phone rings:

Bob: Hey Colonel, it's Bob in purchasing, I just got a PO signed by you for 1700 video game systems and I wanted...

Re:Why? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438388)

I'm curious how they got access to the GPUs... I thought those were restricted to basically a frame-buffer.

Re:Why? (1)

tha_toadman (1266560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437752)

It's this little processor known as 'The Cell'. Google it.

Re:Why? (2)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437966)

What's even more interesting is that in 2005 IBM and Sony tried to sway Jobs to migrate to Cell after IBM essentially called it a day on consumer line of POWER processors (PowerPC). As I recall, Sony even offered to build a PS3 emulator for the OS X platform to sweeten the deal. However, Jobs was reluctant to have the Apple brand compared in anyway to a gaming console, Cell Blades in the server room be damned.

Fast forward to 2010, Apple migrated to x86 chips, have had huge success with their mac-mini server, but have just killed their XServe line, largely because it lost it's excellent clustering features when they went x86. Apple could be wiping the floor in the grid and super computing market with low cost mac minis. Instead, they are off on the sideline still not able to play with the big boys.

Re:Why? (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438556)

And IBM continues to develop the Power architecture, which is wiping the floor with most chips out there these days. Something tells me that intel offered chips at a significantly cheaper rate than the ibm powerpcs. I don't believe for a second it had anything to do with performance or power consumption. Though, they were black eyes in the powerpc architecture around 5 years ago. If anything I was always fond of apples because they were different, right down to the CPU, and now they are basically a really expensive PC inside.

Re:Why? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438746)

No, IBM cancelled the PowerPC line because Apple wasn't moving enough chips to justify keeping the fabs going for it. Instead, they focused on Cell.

IBM pushed hard to convince Apple to move to Cell since having both Sony and Apple on board would have guaranteed more sales for them, but Apple went with Intel. If any undercutting was done, it was Intel undercutting AMD to seal the deal with Apple. Either way, Apple's move from PowerPC was forced.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437780)

At the time of the PS3's release, it was very affordable for the Cell Architecture and performance it provided, and you could put your own operating system on it.

You know how Sony lost money on every PS3 sold... but then made the costs back with like 10 dollars from every game?

And you notice how the government bought 1,760 thousand of these things (or more) for a non-gaming purpose?

Did you hear the firmware updates and new PS3s remove the "Other OS" option?

Or did you think that those 3 incidents were entirely unrelated?

Man I ask a lot of questions.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437948)

At the time of the PS3's release, it was very affordable for the Cell Architecture and performance it provided, and you could put your own operating system on it.

You know how Sony lost money on every PS3 sold... but then made the costs back with like 10 dollars from every game?

And you notice how the government bought 1,760 thousand of these things (or more) for a non-gaming purpose?

Did you hear the firmware updates and new PS3s remove the "Other OS" option?

Or did you think that those 3 incidents were entirely unrelated?

Man I ask a lot of questions.

You fail to understand the economies of scale.

While it is true in a sense that Sony spent more on each PS3 than they charged for them at the beginning of the cycle of the product, most of those costs are sunk costs in manufacturing. The more PS3s they sold, the less they were losing (rather than the other way around, which is the infantile economics view a lot of people claimed).

Now they have sold so many PS3s that the sunk costs are more than paid for, but it's not sensible to say current PS3s are profitable and older ones were not. They paid for development and equipment, and each PS3 sold at any time was revenue Sony used to recoup losses and eventually make a profit.

Think of it like this. You buy a $100 grill and $200 in meat to cook and sell hamburgers. You eventually sell 1000 burgers at $2. The combined cost of the first burger might seem like $300 or $100.20, but it was actually $0.21 the entire time if you think long term (which, of course, is how Sony saw it). the real fear at the beginning was that the PS3 would flop like the original XBOX did (imagine if you only sold 40 burgers). but it hasn't. It's a huge success and on track to sell almost as many units as the other two Playstations.

No, Sony did not cancel other OS to stop the Air Force from building this supercomputer. they did it to prevent analysis of their security architecture that facilitated pirating games.

Re:Why? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438210)

Proof? My understanding that they were losing money on every PS3 regardless of scale, just like printers lose money on every sale, but make the money back in ink cartridge prices.

It's a different but equally valid model, and one that you have disregarded so that you can call other people "infantile" for recognizing it.

From Digital Trends: "Since the PS3’s debut in November of 2006, every console been sold for a loss. With the move to a new cheaper and cooler RSX graphics card, the PS3 is finally showing a profit on each unit sold. ...
It isn’t uncommon for consoles to sell at a loss as manufacturers make up the difference through game prices and additional components like controllers, while waiting for the component pricing to inevitably drop, but the costs were higher than anticipated. By comparison, the Xbox 360, which sold at a loss of around $100 per unit when it debuted, quickly began to see a profit of $75per console within a year and a half of the its release."

So from the sounds of it: "Now they have sold so many PS3s that the sunk costs are more than paid for, but it's not sensible to say current PS3s are profitable and older ones were not. They paid for development and equipment, and each PS3 sold at any time was revenue Sony used to recoup losses and eventually make a profit." is mostly incorrect.

It *is* sensible to say that the current PS3s are profitable and the older ones are not since the current PS3s had hardware changes that made them more profitable and the old ones didn't. The cost per unit in just hardware (not including sunk cost) was still higher than what they were being sold for.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438226)

While it is true in a sense that Sony spent more on each PS3 than they charged for them at the beginning of the cycle of the product, most of those costs are sunk costs in manufacturing.

No, they were losing actual money on each one. That is, they spent some amount of money to design and tool for it. Then, for each one they put out, they spent more on the materials and construction than they took in. They weren't making money but not paying off the initial cost. They were actually losing money on each one. They required game sales to make up the difference. And they did.

Now they have sold so many PS3s that the sunk costs are more than paid for, but it's not sensible to say current PS3s are profitable and older ones were not.

The hardware profits (if any) have still not reached the level of the hardware development and production costs. They have not now, or ever, made money on putting out PS3 hardware.

Think of it like this. You buy a $100 grill and $200 in meat to cook and sell hamburgers. You eventually sell 1000 burgers at $2.

You are wrong. It's like buying a $1000 grill and $1000 in meat to sell 100 hamburgers at $5 each. You spent $2000 to make $500. There is no way to buy another batch of $1000 meat and sell another set of burgers at $5 to make up the difference. However, Sony knows this. They sold it with fries and a drink. The cost for fries and a drink is $1 per order, and the combo is sold at $12. So if everyone who walks up buys only a burger, Sony would have gone out of business (provided they made enough burgers). However, almost everyone gets the combo, so Sony makes about a 10% profit overall on the burger, even though they are selling them at a loss.

This isn't like car sales, which is how you described (except for the Volt, which loses money for each one sold with no way to ever make it up, so they are written off as R&D expenses or such). It takes over a billion dollars to design and tool for a new car, so the first one is either sold at a billion dollar loss, or all of them get some percentage of that cost attached to them causing the net profit to be called a loss until some volume is achieved. But the Volt and the PS3 were sold for an actual loss. The more volume sold, the greater the loss.

Re:Why? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438308)

Really now - because when I saw the price drop to $299 I thought to myself The processor and GPU alone could probably go for that cost and now they're adding on a couple of controllers and a bunch of plastic.

So I always thought of it more like "It cost me 400 to make my console, I sell it for 300, but if they buy 10 games and I get 10 dollars each I break even. They buy more I make money"

I thought it was always THAT simple and you don't need to think about anything longer term than that - because anything after those 10 games is pure profit.

Re:Why? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438346)

Indeed. And still I have to wonder why Sony didn't sell a processor-unlocked version which doesn't include the Sony OS at all - and charge 3, 4, or 5 times as much for the same hardware. It would have been excellent processing power for the price, and it would have made PS3 hardware itself very profitable.

They missed a good opportunity to make a huge chunk of cash on what they sold as a loss leader.

Re:Why? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438800)

You know how Sony lost money on every PS3 sold... but then made the costs back with like 10 dollars from every game?
And you notice how the government bought 1,760 thousand of these things (or more) for a non-gaming purpose?
Did you hear the firmware updates and new PS3s remove the "Other OS" option?
Or did you think that those incidents were entirely unrelated?

Not only that, but the PS3 cluster was undermining whatever chance Sony had of successfully marketing a high-margin commercial HPC product based on the cell.

   

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438206)

The Core is the best value high-performance 8 core chip you can buy. It's especially cheap because Sony subsidies it hoping to make up sales in games (which probably won't happen here).

Re:Why? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438582)

Probably because Sony subsidizes the sale of PS3 hardware, so this is one of the cheaper ways to buy flops.

So much for the theory.... (1)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437714)

that the gov't has better gear than the private sector......or maybe that's what they want us to think........

This is their third try. (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437800)

Previous efforts included a supercomputer made up of 1760 Wiis, but the resulting cluster had less computing power than the researchers' mobile phones and had to be abandoned.

A second attempt at putting together a cluster of 1760 X-Boxes was scuttled when investigations showed no less than 600 of them were showing Red Rings of Doom at any given time.

The Air Force team is confident that using PS3s is a better idea due to their size, weight, and the fact that nobody can find any games that they want to play on them anyway.

(Are there any fanboys I haven't offended with this? I'm trying to be thorough.)

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437826)

I love Trinity Universe, Cross Edge, and Disgaea 3, all of which are on the PS3, you insensitive clod!

Re:This is their third try. (2)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437856)

Wow, I play a good pile of games a year.. and I've never even heard of one of those. :P

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438790)

Those are all from Nippon Ichi, a very niche publisher of very Japanese RPGs. If you like traditional turn based JRPGs with anime styling, give them a shot, they could use the business.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438840)

Wow, I play a good pile of games a year..

Since you play more than one game in a year, then logically it follows that you haven't played a Nippon Ichi game.

I kid, but I have spent probably 600 hours of my life on the mainline Disgaea games. The combo of Valkyria Chronicles and Disgaea 3 was the best reason to even have PS3 two years ago.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437896)

(Are there any fanboys I haven't offended with this? I'm trying to be thorough.)

I'm still waiting for a 1760 node cluster of these. [amazon.com]

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438334)

Of course, the resulting cluster would have a combined RAM total of 14,417,920 bytes, or well under 16MB, since the MOS Technology 6507 only could access 8k. Except half the RAM is reserved for BIOS, to in reality you could access less than 8MB of RAM for the OS and applications. In other words, it might not even run Linux.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437956)

(Are there any fanboys I haven't offended with this? I'm trying to be thorough.)

You forgot the Sega Dreamcast, which is better than exactly two (2) of those consoles.

(how's that for a fanboy troll? :D)

Re:This is their third try. (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438076)

Pft. The Dreamcast is easily the most impressive console to have existed thus far. Far ahead of its time.

Re:This is their third try. (2)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437968)

Actually, the Wii cluster was quite powerful, but the operators couldn't lift the 1760 Wiimotes glued together in order to navigate the front end menu.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438090)

You neglected to trash Apple. (Though I'm not sure if they even have a game console. iBox?)

Re:This is their third try. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438344)

Well they also tried to build one out of 1,760 iPhones, but found they couldn't write anything for it as their programs were rejected from the app store.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438564)

There was the Apple Bandai Pippin [wikipedia.org] , but that horse has been dead so long - and the gawkers so long departed - that it's just a fertile spot with grass growing where the animal fell.

Re:This is their third try. (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438284)

They also tried using 1760 DSs, but most ended up being entirely used for Brain Age. The managers of the project also didn't like to know they had a brain age of over 60.

PSPs were also thought of, but Marcus said that was so un-cool that they abandoned the idea and they were always requesting firmware updates.

Stumbling on PCs, the hope was short-lived as the engineers couldn't decide on blue or red LEDs on the fans.

Hopes are high now for the Atari 2600 if the PS3 does not succeed.

Re:This is their third try. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438302)

(Are there any fanboys I haven't offended with this? I'm trying to be thorough.)

Star Trek, but they're pretty used to being left out.

of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437836)

then they plugged the PS3's into the internet and they auto-updated removing the ability to run a seperate OS and the whole thing crashed to the ground.....

DMCA (1)

pr0f3550r (553601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437838)

I guess it is ok then to jailbreak these?!!??

Re:DMCA (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437932)

What's to jailbreak? These are PS3s they bought a long while ago and they wouldn't be updating the firmware since playing the latest Blu-Rays and getting on PSN isn't a high priority for this lab.

Re:DMCA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438236)

And calling up their local Sony Rep and getting the dev kit is out of the question...

Re:DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438788)

It's the Air Force. Sony's local Rep calls them and asks how they can be of service today.

Remember, they are a Japanese company. They don't want the Air Force coming back for a visit.

Not that surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437906)

IANACS (I am not a computer scientist), but my father works on managing supercomputer time in the scientific community.

He's been complaining for a while now that advanced chip design is driven by video games and graphics, and that the best chips around (on an informal, bang-for-the-buck basis) are PS3/Xbox designs. Apparently, there's more money to be made in optimizing entertainment hardware for college students than in creating useful scientific tools. It's not the end of the world, but it complicates the coding problems for the sorts of scientists who need to run giant simulations (theoretical physicists, meteorologists, climatologists, protein biologists, etc.).

Re:Not that surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438296)

ah " BOO HOO, society doesn't value my contributions to the common good"

I've got a message for your father : "GO F
@#$%^&* CARRIER LOST

Obligatory (0)

samriel (1456543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34437910)

Just imagine a beowulf cluster of those!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34437990)

Wait... Do you work for the Air Force?

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438470)

You bastard, you stole my meme!

Skynet needed 25 days (1)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438078)

Skynet needed 25 days to become self-aware. Should we expect Slashdot entries on Christmas or shortly thereafter telling us that someone or something was born?

Actually if Kristanna Loken comes looking for me, I'm ok with it...

Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (4, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438110)

As far as I know, they're the only console maker that has a branch of the American armed forces using their hardware for a literal supercomputer cluster, which is a stunning, resounding endorsement for the real world horsepower behind their hardware, and they've disabled the very "other OS" feature that allowed the air force to build the cluster in the first place.

What the hell, Sony, you idiots.

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438260)

There's more to it than that. Game piracy is a legitimate issue that has to be thwarted, and it's not like the slashdot community gave Sony any credit for their support of Linux anyway. They lost almost nothing buy disabling otherOS, sadly. I loved the feature, too. Sony's not perfect, but they do have a better record on open gaming tech than the competition.

But way to go calling people idiots when they are making billions on an amazing and sophisticated product. I'm sure you're somehow in a position to look down on that accomplishment. Idiot.

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438294)

So stopping from purchases made purely for computing usage (meaning a pure loss for sony) is stupid? The only other option would be to price ps3 above cost which would KILL sales (far more then what these small projects provide).

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438348)

ITAR.

If anyone could do this with Sony's currently-produced hardware, Sony would be breaking the law by shipping that hardware to anyone "International".

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438604)

Sony is not an american company.

The US subsidiary *might* break the law shipping PS3s to Iran, a Japanese company isn't.

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438722)

The processors in PS3 were developed in the USA. I have little doubt that Sony has to adhere to ITAR when making and selling them.

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438944)

COTS products are generally not ITAR. An item can fall under ITAR when it is designed to specifically meet a US defense requirement or is built using technology or parts that are ITAR.

Re:Why are Sony so horribly short-sighted (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438378)

Instead of charging 5x as much for a cpu-unlocked version of the same product -- earning a profit and coming in as a great deal for those who need it.

Sony, you idiots. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438562)

Since they make their money off the games sold and not the console, they will take a loss ( or at the least make almost nothing ) for every 'cluster' built. So they are idiots why?

Re:Sony, you idiots. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438772)

Since they make their money off the games sold and not the console, they will take a loss ( or at the least make almost nothing ) for every 'cluster' built. So they are idiots why?

That hasn't been true for years. None of the players have been taking a loss on their console for years. It's part of the reason why nobody is in a hurry to release the next generation. They're still selling well and the economies of scale from mass producing them has already caught up to make it cost-effective.

Besides, what the grandparent is saying isn't that they should be making a business model out of clusters. He's saying that the clusters are a great marketing tool. "Our console is more powerful than the xbox. The airforce is using it for serious business. Therefore the version of games on the PS3 will always look better and have higher frame-rates."

What would..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438120)

A cluster of 1760 PS3's make up the fastest supercomputer the US airforce has what would a cluster of all the PS3's that have been made would be like?

How about just the ones online?

Distributed computing. Have a PS3 app that is installed if selected and when your not playing it runs distributed computing. Give the people whos PS3's are been used something in return like online credits for DLC.

Anyone got any figures on how much processing could be available if done?

Re:What would..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438292)

I doubt PS3 owners in many countries around the world would want their processors being used by the US military.

Re:What would..... (3, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438506)

Distributed computing. Have a PS3 app that is installed if selected and when your not playing it runs distributed computing. Give the people whos PS3's are been used something in return like online credits for DLC.

Anyone got any figures on how much processing could be available if done?

Folding@Home did exactly what you are proposing. PS3s are a major contributor to the project:

http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats [stanford.edu]

This is Why Sony Disabled OtherOS (1)

mentil (1748130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438398)

Sony is/was losing money on every sale, banking on making it up in licensing fees from the games purchased for each console sold. When thousands of PS3s are used in applications like this, they're losing money subsidizing cheap supercomputing, which they're not interested in doing. The question is if the amount they're saving is more than they're losing from bad publicity and gamers' purchasing decisions hinging on OtherOS, I imagine it's about break even.

Re:This is Why Sony Disabled OtherOS (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438624)

Don't forget the PS3 has been hacked. So even if you buy a new PS3 with other os disabled you can still enable it and build your own little super cluster.
Game over man. Selling at a loss only to recover money from games will be a bitch for Sony now.

Re:This is Why Sony Disabled OtherOS (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438744)

Sony is/was losing money on every sale, banking on making it up in licensing fees from the games purchased for each console sold

Other people have already mentioned this, proving that none of you read the article and/or thought it through at all. It clearly states the USAF purchased them by working directly with Sony, not sending a few hundred privates out to get a few from the local Best Buy. When the USAF called to place an order for 1,700 units, do you seriously think Sony quoted them the retail price at which they lose a few bucks per unit? Furthermore the folks at Sony planned on the USAF to send legions of privates out to buy an average of 3 games each in order to make a profit on the software side of the deal? It took you 10 times longer to type your post than it should have to think of these minor details.

Go figure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438552)

And everyone wonders why ps3's were impossible to find for years after launch

Iraq did this once (1)

BigFrango (1293040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34438622)

Does anyone remember back in 2000, Saddam Hussein bought 4,000 PS2s, presumably to build a missile-guidance system.

Iraq tried to do this 10 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438728)

This reminded me of a story [slashdot.org] in which Iraq was buying PS2s and trying to link them together to command UAVs. Back then, they couldn't get computers because of sanctions, but they could get "toys", so this was not a bad way to go.

so if the government does it, it's all right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438780)

Isn't what the Air Force doing against the law? After all, someone just (almost) went to jail for modding an x-box, right?

Still, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34438878)

I would utterly destroy it at MW2

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