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Author Topic: How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?  (Read 2977 times)

Offline neilep

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« on: 01/09/2010 11:57:21 »
Dearest Console-PC-Ologists,

As a sheepy I of course luff connecting stuff !..yep..connecting stuff is all I think about from the moment I open my eyes to the time I go to sleep and then even in my dreams I am fantasising about connecting stuff up !...


So, ewe can imagine my joy and surprise when I heard on the radio this morning about a bloke in some place called Americaland who has replaced his 200 PC's that were connected together with 10 games consoles. ** He is using them to perform very complex calculations to do with things called black holes and early Universe type stuff !

I'm not too sure how he has connected them but my best guess is by using spaghetti like I have done here



Ten Games consoles ** Connected With Spaghetti.

What I would like to know is how do ten games consoles** connected together equal the computing prowess of 200 PC's ?....because I've been feeding maths kweschuns on paper into the slots and as yet I have not got an answer...hmmm..perhaps I should cook the spaghetti...whajafink ?



anyway.....if ewe can help me understand the nature of ten games consoles** equalling 200PC's I'd be most grateful





hugs and shmishes



mwah mwah mwah




Neil
If Ewe Answer Second Ewe Get The CONSOLation Prize *le groan*
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


** for the sake of not publicizing the brand of console mentioned on the radio show I have decided to not mention the SONY Playstation 3..However, if SONY wish to kit my entire house out with SONY goods on a contiunal renewable deal every three years then I will gladly mention that it was SONY's Playsation 3 that is being used !








« Last Edit: 01/09/2010 13:31:56 by neilep »


 

Offline graham.d

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Re: How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/2010 12:19:33 »
I think that the reason is that the the processors used in the latest games consoles are designed for parallel processing with around 9 individual processors (with their own cache memory) on the chip. They are also designed to be fast. Given the right application, that requires parallel processing, and the time to write code in the appropriate assembler language, which is no mean feat, then I suspect that such an acceleration factor is likely compared with a normal PC. However, some newer PCs also have multiprocessor chips though the industry is slow to develop software that can make good use of them except in some specific applications. My guess the comparison is not wholly fair and that comparing the best PCs with the best games consoles would still give a clear win for the games consoles but by a lower factor (maybe between 2 and 5); but the games consoles would be a whole lot cheaper.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #2 on: 01/09/2010 12:39:22 »
I think that the reason is that the the processors used in the latest games consoles are designed for parallel processing with around 9 individual processors (with their own cache memory) on the chip. They are also designed to be fast. Given the right application, that requires parallel processing, and the time to write code in the appropriate assembler language, which is no mean feat, then I suspect that such an acceleration factor is likely compared with a normal PC. However, some newer PCs also have multiprocessor chips though the industry is slow to develop software that can make good use of them except in some specific applications. My guess the comparison is not wholly fair and that comparing the best PCs with the best games consoles would still give a clear win for the games consoles but by a lower factor (maybe between 2 and 5); but the games consoles would be a whole lot cheaper.

Thank ewe ever so much Graham. I do appreciate the fact that the consoles are produced purely for gaming purposes and thus a PC must have to utilise processing power for so very many other things too. Yes, there was no mention in the radio show (it was radio 4 about 1:30am this morning) regarding the processing power of the PC's that were replaced so I gratefully accept your suggested ratio. Do ewe know how access to the console op system is made then ?

Thanks very much
 

Offline graham.d

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #3 on: 01/09/2010 16:11:50 »
Do ewe know how access to the console op system is made then ?

No, but the information has to be available to people developing games for example. These people are often independent from the particular console manufacturer and I expect that a research program, like the one you cite, would not be subject to any particular restrictions as it is good advertising for Sony, Microsoft or whoever.
 

Offline neilep

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #4 on: 01/09/2010 17:21:42 »
Do ewe know how access to the console op system is made then ?

No, but the information has to be available to people developing games for example. These people are often independent from the particular console manufacturer and I expect that a research program, like the one you cite, would not be subject to any particular restrictions as it is good advertising for Sony, Microsoft or whoever.

Ahh....this reminds me that I am sure they mentioned on the show that the specific software or operating system is actually opened source. Is it a matter of somehow connecting a keyboard to the Sony PS3 console ?
 

Offline imatfaal

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #5 on: 01/09/2010 17:33:55 »
Quote
As reported by Wired Magazine on October 17, 2007, an interesting application of using PlayStation 3 in a cluster configuration was implemented by Astrophysicist Dr. Gaurav Khanna, from the Physics department of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who replaced time used on supercomputers with a cluster of eight PlayStation 3s.[51] Subsequently, the next generation of this machine, now called the PlayStation 3 Gravity Grid, uses a network of 16 machines, and exploits the Cell processor for the intended application which is binary black hole coalescence using perturbation theory.[52][53] The Cell processor version used by the PlayStation 3 has a main CPU and 6 floating-point vector processors, giving the Gravity Grid machine a net of 16 general-purpose processors and 96 vector processors. The machine has a one-time cost of over $9,000 to build and is adequate for black-hole simulations which would otherwise cost $6,000 per run on a conventional supercomputer. The black hole calculations are not memory-intensive and are highly localizable, and so are well-suited to this architecture.

from halfway down http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_(microprocessor) this page on the cell processor developed for the PS3
 

Offline neilep

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #6 on: 01/09/2010 17:44:36 »
Quote
As reported by Wired Magazine on October 17, 2007, an interesting application of using PlayStation 3 in a cluster configuration was implemented by Astrophysicist Dr. Gaurav Khanna, from the Physics department of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who replaced time used on supercomputers with a cluster of eight PlayStation 3s.[51] Subsequently, the next generation of this machine, now called the PlayStation 3 Gravity Grid, uses a network of 16 machines, and exploits the Cell processor for the intended application which is binary black hole coalescence using perturbation theory.[52][53] The Cell processor version used by the PlayStation 3 has a main CPU and 6 floating-point vector processors, giving the Gravity Grid machine a net of 16 general-purpose processors and 96 vector processors. The machine has a one-time cost of over $9,000 to build and is adequate for black-hole simulations which would otherwise cost $6,000 per run on a conventional supercomputer. The black hole calculations are not memory-intensive and are highly localizable, and so are well-suited to this architecture.

from halfway down http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_(microprocessor) this page on the cell processor developed for the PS3

Thanks imatfaal....that's great information !!    :)


I just tried locating the podcast of the show I heard and then I realised that after 1am Radio 4 plays the BBC World Service and and I just can't find it !...(the podcast I mean...BBC world service is easy to find..it lives in my radio ...which is nice)




« Last Edit: 01/09/2010 17:52:09 by neilep »
 

Offline LeeE

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #7 on: 01/09/2010 17:49:01 »
As graham.d says, the Cell chip used in the PS3 has multiple processing units.

In addition to a general purpose processor (like the more common x86 cpus found in typical PCs and servers, and capable running an OS and ordinary applications) the Cell 8i chip also incorporates 8 sub-processors known as SPEs (Synergistic Processing Elements).  These SPEs are not general purpose processors (as they omit much of the general purpose logic required to run OSs or applications) but can be thought of as specialised number-crunching processors, tuned to produce the highest performance in just this field and omitting much of the logic hardware needed to run ordinary operating systems and applications.  As a result, the eight SPEs in a Cell 8i can turn in a performance of up to 102.4 double-precision GFLOPS.

This is about the same double-precision FLOP performance as a six core Intel Core i7 extreme (the top and most expensive model), which has a theoretical peak performance of 107.55 double-precision GFLOPS.

The big difference though, is that with the Cell chip you have a single general purpose cpu scheduling work to eight SPEs whereas with the Core i7 the problem has to be distributed to each of the six general purpose cpus before it can actually be executed on an FPU.

For numerically intensive problems this amounts to quite a large overhead, not only because of the added communications necessary between the individual cores, but also because the general purpose parts of the typical x86 multi-core processor are actually doing very little work, and only the FPU is being highly utilised.

The pluses with using a Cell architecture then, are lower comms overhead (and delays resulting therefrom), lower hardware requirements (because each SPE doesn't need all the h/w logic to run general purpose s/w) and lower energy requirements (because you're not running additional general purpose cores that aren't being used).

Recent developments in HPC (High Performance Computing) have lead to graphics cards being used for numerically intensive stuff as these can be viewed as having up to 1000 FPUs and can give up to ~1 TFLOP, but they're currently primarily single-precision devices and their double precision is typically much less than half (and sometimes only ~1/10) of their single precision performance.
 

Offline neilep

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #8 on: 01/09/2010 18:02:01 »
As graham.d says, the Cell chip used in the PS3 has multiple processing units.

In addition to a general purpose processor (like the more common x86 cpus found in typical PCs and servers, and capable running an OS and ordinary applications) the Cell 8i chip also incorporates 8 sub-processors known as SPEs (Synergistic Processing Elements).  These SPEs are not general purpose processors (as they omit much of the general purpose logic required to run OSs or applications) but can be thought of as specialised number-crunching processors, tuned to produce the highest performance in just this field and omitting much of the logic hardware needed to run ordinary operating systems and applications.  As a result, the eight SPEs in a Cell 8i can turn in a performance of up to 102.4 double-precision GFLOPS.

This is about the same double-precision FLOP performance as a six core Intel Core i7 extreme (the top and most expensive model), which has a theoretical peak performance of 107.55 double-precision GFLOPS.

The big difference though, is that with the Cell chip you have a single general purpose cpu scheduling work to eight SPEs whereas with the Core i7 the problem has to be distributed to each of the six general purpose cpus before it can actually be executed on an FPU.

For numerically intensive problems this amounts to quite a large overhead, not only because of the added communications necessary between the individual cores, but also because the general purpose parts of the typical x86 multi-core processor are actually doing very little work, and only the FPU is being highly utilised.

The pluses with using a Cell architecture then, are lower comms overhead (and delays resulting therefrom), lower hardware requirements (because each SPE doesn't need all the h/w logic to run general purpose s/w) and lower energy requirements (because you're not running additional general purpose cores that aren't being used).

Recent developments in HPC (High Performance Computing) have lead to graphics cards being used for numerically intensive stuff as these can be viewed as having up to 1000 FPUs and can give up to ~1 TFLOP, but they're currently primarily single-precision devices and their double precision is typically much less than half (and sometimes only ~1/10) of their single precision performance.


Whoa !...Thank ewe also very muchly LeeE.

Trying to digest the information ewe have written makes me think I need to hook up a few consoles myself to help me comprehend !

Thank ewe very much for your wonderful information. Fascinating !...it seems the sky's the limit. I am sure I also heard that somebody/some corporation were going to hook up 2000 PS3's....now...I was reaching ' Sedation Avenue' when this was mentioned at the end of the segment but I presume there's no problem with doing such a thing ?....except the power consumption ?

 

Offline LeeE

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #9 on: 02/09/2010 23:54:05 »
Using PS3s for HPC has become a lot harder since Sony decided to remove the option/feature that allowed you to run an alternative Operating System on it.  In practice this meant Linux, which, iirc, is used in > 90% of HPC clusters.

I still haven't been able to figure out why Sony has done this, unless it was due to pressure from IBM, who market their own (but very much more up-market) Cell based HPC systems.  Shame, really.
 

Offline imatfaal

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #10 on: 03/09/2010 12:33:26 »
I thought the removal of the alternative os was to stop a software work around of the original game media protection - ie to stop use of dodgy games without chipping .   
 

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How Do 10 games Consoles = 200 PC's ?
« Reply #10 on: 03/09/2010 12:33:26 »

 

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