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Technology

Making the Most of What You've Got

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonOctober 17, 2007 11:14 PM

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Suffering from its exorbitant price point and a dearth of titles, Sony's PlayStation 3 isn't exactly the most popular gaming platform on the block. But while the console flounders in the commercial space, the PS3 may be finding a new calling in the realm of science and research. Right now, a cluster of eight interlinked PS3s is busy solving a celestial mystery involving gravitational waves and what happens when a super-massive black hole, about a million times the mass of our own sun, swallows up a star. As the architect of this research, Dr. Gaurav Khanna is employing his so-called "gravity grid" of PS3s to help measure these theoretical gravity waves -- ripples in space-time that travel at the speed of light -- that Einstein's Theory of Relativity predicted would emerge when such an event takes place. It turns out that the PS3 is ideal for doing precisely the kind of heavy computational lifting Khanna requires for his project, and the fact that it's a relatively open platform makes programming scientific applications feasible.

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