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

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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.)

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