Video game maker to team up with lab to create supercomputer

A woman plays with an XBOX games console

Steve Chiotakis: The video game chip maker Nvidia says it's gonna team up with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to build the world's fastest supercomputer.

Marketplace's Steve Henn reports the chips that make the supercomputer possible are actually subsidized by the booming free market in video games.


Steve Henn: I 'm watching a scene from the video game Battlefield 3: U.S. Troops Under Attack. It looks so real Ii could be watching the news -- And special graphics chips make this possible. It turns out those chips can also turbo-charge supercomputers, Summit Gupta is with Nvidia.

Summit Gupta: The mass market video game market is allowing us to use the same graphics chips for high-performance computing.

High-performance chips can cost a billion dollars to design -- too much for researchers. But Steve Scott at Nvidia says video games are a gold mines. Designing chips for gamers pays. And now scientist are building on top of those chips.

Steve Scott: There's an amazing transformation taking place right now.

Titan will be blazing fast -- capable doing 20 million -- billion math problems a second. Scientists will use it to model new drugs, understand the origins of the universe and attempt to predict climate change.

None of it would be possible without games. So go ahead play -- help save the world.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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