Sony’s long-discussed “Condor” supercomputer powered by 1,716 Playstation 3s has finally been shown to the public. The military system aims to enable 24-hour, real-time air surveillance over large areas using the system’s high-end video capabilities.

The computer system is being used by the Air Force, and is located at Rome’s Air Force Research Lab. They claim the room full of linked-up PS3s is among the 40 fastest computers in the world and is the seventh-greenest in the world.

The system also costs just $2 million to build, making it by far one of the cheapest supercomputers there is, with the next lowest set at $50 million.

Ironically, one of the main things that drew the Air Force to the PS3 is that it can run Linux, which is at the heart of nearly all supercomputers in the world.

Sony is currently after PS3 hacker George Hotz who posted a key and tools to gain control over the PS3 and install Linux. Sony is going for the throat of anyone who so much as watched or commented on a YouTube video of how to change the PS3 operating system.

That aside, however, this all brings back memories of when Iraq’s late leader Saddam Hussein bought somewhere around 4,000 PS2s. The FBI and U.S. Customs Service were investigating the purchase as they feared Hussein was trying to build a “crude super-computer.”

Back in 2000, quoted an unidentified military intelligence officer saying:

Most Americans don’t realize that each PlayStation unit contains a CPU — every bit as powerful as the processor found in most desktop and laptop computers. Beyond that, the graphics capabilities of a PlayStation are staggering — five times more powerful than that of a typical graphics workstation, and roughly 15 times more powerful than the graphics cards found in most PCs.

One expert I spoke with estimated that an integrated bundle of 12-15 PlayStations could provide enough computer power to control an Iraqi unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV — a pilotless aircraft.

Who knows. Maybe Hussein was actually on to something.

Photo Credit: Michel Ngilen

About The Author

Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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