A U.S. research center has clustered 70 Sony PlayStation 2 game consoles into a Linux supercomputer that ranks among the 500 most powerful in the world. According to the New York Times, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois assembled the $50,000 machine out of components bought in retail shops. In all, 100 PlayStation 2 consoles were bought but only 70 have been used for this project.
These units are mounted on racks and are networked with two Hewlett-Packard 2650 Procurve switches, NCSA said on its Web site. NCSA said in the report their system could theoretically deliver half a trillion operations per second, which equals 0.5 teraflops of computing power. If it performs as promised, the machine will rank among the world's top 500 supercomputers.
At present, NEC's Earth Simulator is the world's most powerful machine. It is 80 times faster than NCSA's PlayStation-based system with over 5,200 processors and 40 teraflops of computing power. NCSA's supercomputer runs on the Linux operating system which is included as part of a Sony Linux kit for the PlayStation 2.
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News source: ZDNet