Monday, March 03, 2008

Playstation 3 cluster

Gaurav Khanna reports: [edited]

The Sony PlayStation 3 has a number of unique features that make it particularly suited for scientific computation. To start with, the PS3 is an open platform, which means that one can run a different system software on it, for example, PowerPC Linux.

Next, it has a revolutionary processor called the Cell processor which was developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba. This processor has a main CPU, called the PPU and several (six for the PS3) special compute engines, called SPUs available for raw computation.

We have a sixteen PS3 cluster in our department, which we call PS3 Gravity Grid. We are using stock PS3s. They are networked together using a gigabit switch.

Overall, a single PS3 performs better than the highest-end desktops available and compares to as many as 25 nodes of an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. And there is still tremendous scope left for extracting more performance through further optimization.

We distribute the entire computational domain across the sixteen PS3s using MPI (message passing) parallelization. This enables the entire cluster to run together, harmoniously, working on the computation in an efficient way. Each PS3 works on its part of the domain and communicates the appropriate data to the others, as needed

1 comment:

Aaron Butler said...

Wonder what the staff do at lunch time.