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More PS3’s to Enlist in Air Force Research

The Air Force is about to recruit 2200 more Playstation 3’s. That’s right, MORE. The United States Air Force purchased 336 of the Sony PS3’s in May of 2008 in order to conduct a technology assessment of certain cell processors. The cell processors used in the Playstation 3 were the only ones that matched the program criteria at an acceptable cost. The research is being conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y.

The USAF has ordered up 2200 more of the Sony PS3 to cluster together with the original 336 in supercomputer research. The additional research grant awarded back in June was $2 million, on top of the $118,000 initial investment.

According to InformationWeek:

The Air Force will use the system to “to determine the best fit for implementation of various applications,” including commercial and internally developed software specific to the PS3’s Cell Broadband Engine processor architecture. The research will help the Air Force decide where Cell Broadband Engine processor-derived hardware and software could be used in military systems.

The Air Force has used the cluster to test a method of processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and “neuromorphic computing,” or building computers with brain-like properties.

The PlayStation 3’s eight-processor Cell powers other supercomputers, including the world’s second-fastest, IBM’s RoadRunner, at Los Alamos National Laboratory.”