Dr. Frank Mueller, professor at North Carolina State University, has put together 8 PS3's, in order to create an awesome cluster, with incredible processing capabilities, for about only 5.000$US, less than some of those branded computers, which have only a fraction of the capabilities.
The PS3 allows the Linux operating system to be installed, and IBM designed the programming environment for programming the Cell processor (including eight vectorization units), which combined tremendous computing power within a single PS3. According to Mueller, each PS3 unit contains six operational special-purpose cores for number crunching and one general-purpose core that is two-way multi-threaded in his configuration, so the eight machines clustered have 64 logical processors, providing plenty of number-processing ability in addition to be able to run the latest games for a long time.
The cluster is going to be used for scientific research. By now, it is being used to teach classes in operative systems, parallel systems, compilers and gaming.
The software powering it:
- Fedora Core 5 Linux ppc64
- MPICH2 (also MPI API)
- OpenMP v2.5 (via gcc)
- gcc (C compiler)
- CellSDK 1.1