Evaluation of the PlayStation 2 as a cluster computing node

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Nigro, Christopher R.
thesis / dissertation description
Cluster computing is currently a popular, cost-effective solution to the increasing computational demands of many applications in scientific computing and image processing. A cluster computer is comprised of several networked computers known as nodes. Since the goal of cluster computing is to provide a cost-effective means to processing computationally demanding applications, nodes that can be obtained at a low price with minimal performance tradeoff are always attractive. Presently, the most common cluster computers are comprised of networks of workstations constructed from commodity components. Recent trends have shown that computers being developed and deployed for purposes other than traditional personal computers or workstations have presented new candidates for cluster computing nodes. The new computing node candidates being considered may provide a competitive and even less expensive alternative to the cluster computing nodes being used today. Machines such as video game consoles, whose prices are kept extremely low due to intense marketplace competition, are a prime example of such machines. The Sony PlayStation 2, in particular, provides the user with low-level hardware devices that are often found in more expensive machines. This work presents and evaluation of the PlayStation 2 video game console as a cluster computing node for scientific and image processing applications. From this evaluation, a determination is made as to whether the PlayStation 2 is a viable alternative to the cluster computing nodes being used today.