The Sony Playstation 3 As Global Supercomputer

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Sony (SNE) has come up with the novel idea that a network of PS3s could be used in the place of large computers by companies that do not have enough capacity to run substantial research projects on their own systems. The idea is actually not new. The concept of networking PCs when they are not being used to create one super computer has been floating around for some time. The video game aspect is a new and bizarre twist.

Sony has already tested the PS3 network idea with Stamford.

According to the FT: "PS3s run on the revolutionary Cell processor – co-designed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba – and they can be linked with tens of thousands of other idle PS3s via the internet to run a single analytical programme"

All of this looks good on paper. But why a bunch of 17-year-olds would want a Big Pharma company to test drug molecules on their video game machines seems difficult to determine. Maybe Sony could give them a free version of "Grand Theft Auto".

With Playstation 3 sales lagging Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii there must be a better way for Sony to spend its time.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.