Researchers at the University of Dartmouth have just proven something important: That you’re doing video games wrong. They’ve networked together a grid of eight Playstation 3’s and created a sort of ad-hoc super-computer in order to run simulations of gravity waves from mid-galaxy black holes. They call it “Guerilla Calculating,” and by “they” I mean “me,” and by “call” I mean “just made up now.” It is as viable a name as any, and come on – it lends a certain dangerous mystique to the whole thing, bringing to mind images of filthy, rope-muscled scientists in torn-lab coats hiding amongst the trees in some exotic location. Waiting…just waiting for the right moment to strike at the unsuspecting numbers with their jury-rigged theorems.
Okay, so maybe Dartmouth isn’t exactly the Columbian rainforest, and maybe some networked Playstations aren’t exactly compasses hacked together from bark and combat knives – but god damn, these guys still deserve some serious respect for seeing the easy, practical, sensible way – which was renting space on an established machine, and instead opting for the half-crazy, mad scientist, MacGyver way – which was to slap together some toys and yell “SCIENCE!” at them until they spontaneously became a supercomputer by sheer force of will.
They used a Playstation 3 mainly because it is the cheapest computing power available for the dollar, seeing as how Sony still sells the consoles at a loss in order to make up revenue later on games. And it’s just as well that they settled on the PS3, because if you tried that shit on an Xbox 360 you’d likely get a plethora of infuriating 12-years-old solving all your calculations well before you, all the while yelling things like “newfag” and “pWned!” And even if you did get your simulation running, the virtual black hole would probably end up headshot mere seconds after spawning into existence, whereupon its corpse would then get repeatedly teabagged by somebody called FratBroCide420 for six straight minutes.
They could’ve tried it on that cutesy retarded cousin of the video game console, the Wii, but they probably realized rather quickly that Nintendo doesn’t actually have any computing power, as the console inexplicably runs its games entirely on the giggles of schoolchildren and pictures of LOLcats.
Perhaps most baffling, however, was the quoted “astoundingly high cost” of renting existing super-computers that supposedly drove these scientists to their guerilla calculations: Roughly $1/hour. Now, if you have to spend 5000+ hours on your simulation like these scientists, it makes sense to avoid it in this fashion. But for the common man, this information raises a very important scientific question, and that is as follows: Who wants to throw down a fiver with me for a day on a NASA supercomputer?
Maybe we could figure out some less mathematically intensive questions with it, like what would The A-Team be like if David Lee Roth played B.A. Baracus? Could something finally help me remember a way to tell the difference between Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman? Or hell, maybe we can just Scout Rush those god damn sixth-graders with the power of motherfucking Sky/Net on our side. Finally even up those odds a bit. Damn punks.