Looks like the Air Force is taking advantage of the low price of the Sony PlayStation 3. They plan to purchase another 2,200 consoles to build a research supercomputer. That's a lot of PS3s!
In the last few years, technicians have gotten very creative with technology, and this is the perfect example. The United States Air Force already owns 336 PS3s, but are looking to further their collection to conduct more research. The location of the consoles will be Rome, New York, at the Air Force Research Laboratory's information directorate.
This is not the first time the PlayStation 3 has been used to power a supercomputer, it is a prime choice for powering these devices considering it uses an eight-processor cell. But this system in particular will be used 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."
Originally, $118,000 was invested in the High Performance Computing Modernization Program, the DOD's arm for supercomputing research, development, test, and evaluation. Now an additional $2 million will be put towards the program to discover whether military systems will be able to support the Cell Broadband Engine processor-derived hardware and software. But considering that the average annual amount spent on research and development is $700 million, this is a very small investment. Who knew PS3s could be so useful?