Video Game Consoles Make Up Green Supercomputer

Tuesday - 12/14/2010, 5:40pm EST

High-resolution computer systems capable of networking around the world are being used by researchers at the Air Force Research Lab to build a new supercomputer. It holds the distinction of being one of the cheapest - and one of the greenest - supercomputers in the world because the systems being used are Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles - over 17-hundred of them.

It's called the Condor Cluster project and it's being built entirely from off-the-shelf commercial components. Its creators say it could change the supercomputing landscape.

The system is capable of making 500 trillion calculations per second -- and represents new ways for supercomputers to increase computational resources while using less energy. The Condor is currently considered the seventh-greenest computer in the world.

It cost only 2 million dollars to build, whereas the cheapest comparable supercomputers would cost $50 million or more.