PlayStation 3 good for media server, Killzone 2, black hole vibration research

Today, I plan on purchasing and playing Savage Moon, a tower defense game featuring aliens and bugs, on my PlayStation 3. Then maybe I’ll use it to finish watching season three of Entourage.

If I were smarter, maybe I’d be using Sony’s console for something that’s actually useful, like to determine the rotational speed at which black hole vibrations stop. That’s what researchers at the University of Alabama are doing, having networked 16 PlayStation 3 consoles together to create what they’re calling a “PS3 Gravity Grid.”

While renting a supercomputer would cost roughly $5000 per simulation, building the system using PlayStation 3 systems allows them to repeat the simulation at no extra cost. According to the researchers, it cost them less than $6000 to design the grid using the cluster of consoles. It also gives them an excuse to go to Best Buy on their lunch breaks, and they can watch 16 copies of the Talladega Nights Blu-ray at once. 

For those interested in doing research of their own (or taking over the world), one of the researchers, Gaurav Khanna, Ph. D., details how to make the cluster on his research Web site.


Nick Chester