At Less than a 10th the cost per GFlop of the $2500 supercomputer,
You can build a Super Computer for yourself right in your very home by just using 8 PS3 Consoles, Linux, a Gigabit Ethernet switch and your favorite health drink & gravity modifying codes and you’re doing real geeky science. On a Sony PS3.
You Think If I am Kidding or Fooling You…No I Am Not!!!, Do You Think It’s possible to really build a supercomputer cheaply using only PS3 and Linux??? has anyone created his own supercomputer using PS3???
Yes he has, & that person is – Dr Gaurav Khanna an Astrophysicist with the Cluster Workshop. (that’s a early stage distributed computation working group with The University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth).
Last year, Dr.Khanna’s construction of a small supercomputer using eight Sony-donated Playstation 3 gaming consoles made headlines nationwide in the scientific community. On the consoles, he is solving complex equations designed to predict the properties of gravitational waves generated by the black holes located at the center of the galaxies.
“Science budgets have been significantly dropping over the last decade,” Khanna said. “Here’s a way that people can do science projects less expensively. This new web site will show people how to move forward.”
Typically, scientists rent supercomputer time by the hour. A single simulation can cost more than 5,000 hours at $1 per hour on the National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid computing infrastructure. “For the same cost, you can build your own supercomputer and it works just as well if not better,” Khanna said. “Plus, you can use it over and over again, indefinitely.” The cost for his initial Playstation grid was $4,000.
Setting up a supercomputer out of PlayStation devices required some serious tweaking. First of all, the simulation software can only run on Linux platforms, so Khanna had to load the PS3 consoles with Linux distributions.
Guide with Steps on How To Build a SuperComputer and PS3 Cluster Using PS3 Consoles and Linux
You will need a PlayStation3 console, a working Internet connection, and a PC to burn disc images. You will also need One(1) blank DVD-R, One(1) blank CD-R, and finally a USB mem stick/thumb-drive.
Step 1a – Download Fedora Core DVD ISO image for PPC, and burn the Fedora Core ISO image to DVD. Fedora Core 8 will do (Note that Fedora 9 or 10 may be ok, just not tested with this set of steps.):
- Fedora 8 (Find a local mirror), (US link)
- Note: For older versions of Fedora you will also need to get the Cell specific kernel AddOn Packages iso here.
Step 1b – Download custom boot image. This was small so we put it on our site here:
- USB Mem Stick Boot Image http://www.ps3cluster.org/distros/ps3.zip
- Unzip the file. This folder called “PS3” should contain the subfolder ‘otheros’ and the file ‘TRANS.TBL’.
- Place this folder on any empty USB thumb drive/memory stick.
Step 1c (Optional) – Get a USB Keyboard (We use a Logitech, but you can search online for others). Note that this is purely optional because (as you will see later) if ssh is correctly configured it will enable remote access/admin to all machines in the cluster.