ACME Supercomputing Inc – Roadrunner Beware

I read an interesting article the other day about the fact that Cray have toppled IBM of the top spot in the super computer race with a staggering 1.64 Petaflops of processing grunt from its XT Jaguar supercomputer. Of course, I expect this will be short lived given the Roadrunner has a theoretical 1.7 Petaflop capacity.

So what I hear you cry!

Well think of this, Cloud computing is here to stay and can yield some massive processing potential, but its still quite young and clouds tend to be privately owned and sold to the highest bidder. But what if we could all club together and build a cloud so big, so powerful it blew the Crays and IBMs of this world out of the water?

Again, I hear the crys of yeah right!

Well, ask yourself this, do I own a PS3? if the answer is yes, welcome to the “PSCloud”

The concept is simple, in a PS3 there is an IBM Cell Processor with 8 CPU cores, a very powerful CPU indeed! and guess what, IBM’s Roadrunner uses them too, yes, the Roadrunner has just short of 13,000 Cell Processors in it, of course it has quite a few AMD’s as well (6.4K), but the cells are the bulk of it.

So lets look at the facts, the same basic architecture used for the supercomputer market is in our homes, and cloud computing is here to stay, well I’m no rocket scientist but I reckon if we put these two concepts together, Roadrunner and Jaguar have a problem on their hands.

As of November 2008, over 16 million PS3’s have been sold around the world, of which we can assume by the design and nature of the unit, that nearly all of them are connected to the internet, so if we were able to join them into a single cloud, what sort of processing power could we achieve?

I ask you this….. If 13,000 Cells and 6K AMD’s get you 1.6 Petaflops, what would 16million Cells get you?

All we need to make this happen is a software/firmware update to turn the PS3 into a cloud member and a peer based command and control mechanism, any programmers out there?

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