- Scientists at the University of Massachusetts and Alabama have solved a mystery about the speed at which black holes stop vibrating. What's interesting about this discovery is that it was solved exclusively on a 16-strong PS3 cluster.
To quote: Using only the computing power of 16 Sony PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, scientists at The University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, have solved a mystery about the speed at which vibrating black holes stop vibrating.
It may be the first time this kind of research has been conducted exclusively on a PS3 cluster: A related 2007 UMass Dartmouth/UAHuntsville project using a smaller PS3 cluster also used a "traditional" supercomputer to run its simulations.
The biggest advantage of the console cluster – the PS3 Gravity Grid – at UMass Dartmouth was the cost saving, said Dr. Lior Burko
, an assistant physics professor at UAHuntsville.
"If we had rented computing time from a supercomputer center it would have cost us about $5,000 to run our simulation one time. For this project we ran our simulation several dozens of times to test different parameters and circumstances, so you can see how much that would have cost us.
You can build a cluster like this for perhaps $6,000, and then you can run the simulation as many times as you like at no additional cost."