Geek Trivia

What Off-The-Shelf Item Did The United States Air Force Build a Supercomputer From?

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Answer: PlayStations

In 2010, the United States Air Force made headlines by building a super computer out of 1,760 PlayStaton 3 units. Why video game consoles? Thanks to the advanced GPU system in the PlayStation 3 and the ease of hacking multiple units into legitimate computing clusters, it allowed the Air Force to build a super computer array that cost roughly 5-10% as much as a traditional super computer with equivalent computing power; even better, the array consumes around 10% of the power of an equivalent traditional super computer.

At the time it was revealed to the public, the array, dubbed the Condor Cluster, was the 33rd most powerful super computer in the world and the most powerful super computer within the Department of Defense.