Thursday, January 29, 2009
Lior Burko, a physicist at of the University of Alabama, wanted to run computer simulations of the vibrations in space caused by a black hole. The problem was that the simulations need a supercomputer, and the cost is about $5K per simulation.
The solution? Some guy at the University of Massachusetts networked 16 Playstation 3's together to create something the PS3 Gravity Grid. Yes, Playstation 3, the video game console. No, I am not making this up. Apparently, it's very good at simulations that require massive amounts of computations, but only a little bit of RAM. It cost about $6K total to build, and can run unlimited simulations.
So, using the PS3 Gravity Grid, Professor Burko was able to simulate how long a black hole vibrates after it forms. He likens the vibrations of a black hole to the ringing of a bell.
The whole article is here, on Space.com.
An interview with the guy who built it is here.
Imagine what they could do with a bunch of Wii's.