It used to be when it came time to upgrade a supercomputer we were talking about adding more nodes, processors, and other hardware. At least in one of the supercomputers used by the DoD when it comes time to upgrade it means buying more Sony PS3 game consoles.
BoingBoing reports that a DoD document has surfaced that shows the defense agency is ordering 2,200 more PS3 consoles to install into its PS3 supercomputer. The supercomputer currently has 336 of the consoles in a Linux cluster.
The reason the PS3 is being used because the game console is a much better value than the Cell processors aimed at supercomputing applications. The difference in price is mostly because the PS3 hardware is sold at a loss to get sales of software.