Thursday, March 6, 2008

Air Force buying PS3s

I read in yesterday's news that the US Air Force is looking to buy 300 PS3s. Funny quips aside, this is probably a smart thing to do. Why is buying a video game console for military use a smart idea? The Cell Broadband Engine (BE) chip in each of those PS3s is an extremely powerful processing platform. It has proven itself to be a processing powerhouse in applications like encryption/decryption, signal processing, physics simulation, and modelling protein folding for medical research. Its combination of multi-threading power, triple buffering, and rediculous memory bandwidth are perfect for performing lots of calculations on lots of data. If you want to buy a Cell BE chip, you can go through vendors such as Mercury Computer Systems and spend 10s of thousands on hardware alone to get up and running, then thousands more on training per developer. Alternatively, you can buy PS3s for a few hundred dollars each, download an open source OS and developer tools for free, and start exploring their potential right away for a much lower price. I looked into this for accelerating physics simulations run at my office and, were we to go the Cell route, that would be the way to start.


Ever comment on a blog or news site and never hear back? I think part of my motivation for starting this blog comes from the disappointment of posting to tech news and review sites. It seems like the more useless and the less thoughtful the post, the more people respond to it. Its also frustrating that you have to repeatedly load the page to see responses. Sure, most forums have some kind of "inform me of responses by e-mail" checkbox but I've found them to be unreliable, at best.

That said, feel free to post comments here. I may even look at them.

Destined for Deadwood

I figured it was about time I did more than listen. Lately, I've been listening to so many podcasts, its driven my girlfriend mad. Most of these podcasts I find myself listening to, like much of the content on the web, are about the web. Most of those are from the perspective of someone in Silicon Valley or, at least, someone tuned into that culture. I'm an east-coast guy and, until it can do something for me besides confuse me further, I'm not terribly interested in the latest social networking site, widget-making startup, or google wannabe. So, my girlfriend will probably still regret getting me an iPod for christmas, but at least she won't have to listen to me blather about all the geeky stuff I heard on it anymore. My devoted readers can come here for that;) Welcome, loyal reader. I'll try to pretend you're not alone.