College of Engineering

Sony PlayStations used in Astrophysics Research

Dr. Gaurav Khanna and Mr. Glenn Volkema of the Physics department have built a small supercomputer using eight (8) Sony PlayStations 3 gaming consoles. The PS3 has a number of unique features that make it particularly suited for scientific computation. Most significantly, it has a revolutionary processor, called the Cell processor that is often dubbed as a 'supercomputer-on-a-chip". Dr. Khanna will use this PS3 cluster for his astrophysics research relating to the emission of gravitational waves from a supermassive black hole. Supermassive  black holes, that often weigh more than a million times the mass of our Sun, commonly lurk at the center of most galaxies. The upcoming NASA/ESA LISA Mission will observe the capture of small stars by such a black hole and therefore it is important to have a theoretical understanding of such events today.

This PS3 cluster was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Sony. To find out more about this cluster and associated research, please visit:

Author: "Prof. Gaurav Khanna"
Date: 17-9-2007

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