PS3 Gravity Grid Solves Astrophysics ProblemCategory: General News
Posted: December 22, 2008 07:08PM
When faced with the question, "At what speed do vibrating black holes stop vibrating?", scientists at The University of Alabama in Huntsville and The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth decided against the usual supercomputers. Instead, they opted to use PlayStation 3's...sixteen of them chained together, to be exact. They dubbed the PS3 cluster the "PS3 Gravity Grid" and yes, it was able to solve the black hole question, all for a mere $6,000. That may sound like a lot to us normal folk, but to the scientists, that's a steal. To solve that type of question normally, they would have had to rent CPU hours at the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid or the Alabama Supercomputing Center. Dr. Lior Burko, an assistant physics professor at The University of Alabama, estimated that it would have cost them about $5,000 to run their simulation one time, but the PS3 Gravity Grid allowed them to run it several dozen times for just that one-time cost. Best of all, if money is no object to you, you can use their open source do-it-yourself guide to build your own PS3 cluster.