AFRL Unveils Condor Cluster Supercomputer

Officials with the Air Force Research Lab’s information directorate in Rome, N.Y., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome their newest addition: a supercomputer nicknamed the Condor Cluster. What makes this supercomputer different is its composition—a cluster of 1,760 Sony PlayStation 3 processors bundled with more conventional equipment. Together, they form the Defense Department’s fastest interactive supercomputer, reported the Utica Observer-Dispatch. AFRL plans to use Condor Cluster for DOD projects like artificial intelligence research, synthetic aperture radar enhancement, image enhancement, and pattern recognition studies. By adapting advanced gaming technology already on the market, AFRL created a remarkably affordable system, said Rome officials. In fact, at about $2 million, it cost at least 10 times less then equivalent capability, they said. Condor Cluster became fully operational on Nov. 17; the ribbon cutting took place Wednesday. (Includes Rome report by Chas Littell)