Air Force orders 2,200 PlayStation 3s

(MILITARY TIMES)   The Air Force is ordering 2,200 Sony PlayStation 3s, but it won’t be using them to play “Call of Duty 4.”

The video-game consoles will be networked together to create a massive computing cluster that will be used for special projects at an Air Force Research Laboratory center in Rome, N.Y.

The service is expanding its stock of 336 PlayStations, which are linked in 14 clusters of 24, with a powerful “compute node” attached to each cluster.

Mark Barnell, high performance computing director for AFRL’s information directorate, said he expects the PlayStations to cost about $650,000, and the entire project to cost less than $2 million. The consoles are inexpensive, he said, because the price of manufacturing them is effectively subsidized by gamers.

Sony “makes their money on the software, so they sell the hardware at either no profit or a loss,” Barnell said.

The new PlayStation cluster is expected to be up and running by May or June, and will be used to create virtual models of the human brain, among other things, Barnell said.

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