Finally, good news for Sony: $2.7B Army super-cloud-computer doesn't work

$2 million Air Force PS3 supercomputer knows its black hole from its elbow

Finally some good news for Sony!

Ok, some good news, some bad news.

The bad news is that it got hacked again. LulzSec is back at it again, or maybe just finishing up some of the hackage it started during its "50 Days of Lulz" that ended two weeks ago.

Previous hacks launched Sony (several abortive times) on rebuilds of the Playstation Network security infrastructure, which continues and does not appear to have been hacked into nonexistence so far this week.

[Also see: Unlikely rumor: Sony PS4 to launch in 2012]

The new hack was an attack on a Sony Ireland site in which someone posted fake news stories that included one in which self-funded pop sicksation Rebecca Black and disgraced R&B star R Kelly got married in Disneyland. By thus doing the most recent crew of Sony hackers proved themselves much funnier than those who posted the Obama Assassination hoax on Fox News' Twitter feed, or were simply having a much more emotionally balanced day.

(LulzSec has expressed its disdain for Rebecca Black before, but having one attention whore lambaste another is a little too meta-meta to think about for long without getting sucked down some kind of quantum-physical black hole of relentlessly driven pointlessness.)

Back to the good news – though it's good only for Sony: The U.S. Army spent $2.7 billion on a high-performance cloud-computing system designed to gather and analyze intelligence information and feed it in real time to troops in the field in Afghanistan.

The processed intelligence has made it harder, not easier, to fight insurgents because it doesn't work, according to a story in Politico based on anonymous sources and a memo summarizing the system's poor performance.

Rather than gathering data from multiple sources, synthesizing it and spitting out streams of usable battlefield intelligence, the system can't manage "simple analytical tasks," can't find reports, and uses search software that's not compatible with the map software it's supposed to use to localize intelligence information.

Despite its unbelievably clunky real name -- Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) – the $2.7 billion system has a lot more cool acronyms and nicknames than any system you work on – Enhanced Trackwolf and Prophet Control being only the two best.

Why is that good news for Sony?

DCGS-A is built by Northrup Grumman, to a level of quality that prompted one analyst who used the system to say "almost any commercial solution out there would be better."

Coincidentally, the Air Force built a supercomputer using commercial systems – 1,760 Playstation 3 game consoles that were disassembled so the completed Condor Cluster could use their GPUs to help it do real-time analysis of observation data from unmanned drones flying over insurgent territory and other things too secret for anyone to know who hasn't hacked into a major Sony site this afternoon.

It's hard to tell how well the Condor Cluster is doing as an aide to commanders in the field because most of its workload is classified (though I have it on good authority it's mostly used to play MMORPG versions of Call of Duty: Special Ops).

The massive graphical computing capability of the Condor Cluster did help a trio of researchers model and animate the complex physics predicting what would happen if a large black hole were to eat medium-sized star, especially the effect Einstein described as "ripples" in space-time that would fling the black hole thousands of miles.

(Think about something powerful enough to shove something several thousand kilometers that is, itself, big enough to swallow a star far larger than our own; Einstein's hair wasn't white because he was old. It turned white after prolonged "holy s***" moments while he was coming up with this stuff and realizing most of it was probably not part of an elaborate hallucination.)

The Army's $2.7 billion system literally can't find itself on a map. The Air Force's $2 million PS3 cluster helped visualize in detail what would happen in the relativistic space-time during the collision of two things so big and dangerous either would snuff out the Earth without any effect at all.

Nice work, Sony. Finally.

(See if you can borrow the Condor Cluster back for a couple of days and ask it what to do about your security. Don't be surprised if it mentions the black hole while synthesizing directions on where you should go from here.)

I should mention that Sony is still mad at the Air Force for continuing to use the Linux OS functions in the PS3s when it told everyone else to stop. So you could argue even this kind of success actually exposes yet another rich vein of Lame at Sony. After all the hackage and failure to address it other than by Adroit Blame-Shifting Process Bloviation (ABMPB), there's really nothing left of Sony except vast swathes of exposed Lame being slowly baked by the glares of users angry at losing the Linux they loved and customers angry at having their private financial information given away again and again and again.

So it's better to just forget it and go log in to one of those wicked MMORPG COD5 servers; there's a new black-hole map that plays like a B.O.S.S.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon