Video games have been a popular topic this week on AutoblogGreen. Just a few days ago, we shared news about racing a Tesla Roadster against a Ferrari in the upcoming game Project Gotham Racing 4. While that sounds way cooler than digging around looking for oil, the same computers could be used for developing both, according to this story from the University of Houston (UH). The computer in question is a supercomputer from IBM which uses processor technology called the Cell Broadband Engine™ which was designed and created by IBM, Toshiba and Sony for the PlayStation 3. I don't know if you keep up with this sort of thing or not, but the newest PlayStation uses a type of processor known as the Cell Synergistic Processor Unit. Sony has announced that this processor architecture would be made available to other industries for totally unrelated use, and this sounds exactly like what they were talking about. The article from UH goes on to say that a team from IBM is working with UH's Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program (M-OSRP) and its petroleum industry sponsors in an effort to locate pockets of oil and gas that have not been found yet.
For obvious reasons, we are not too keen on the prospect of finding new pockets of oil and gas. Unfortunately, the fact is that new pockets are sure to be found, if not by this system, then by others. Wouldn't it be nice to see the free market spending the same time and effort researching alternatives to the oil and gas that this supercomputer will be trying to locate? Wouldn't it be really nice to hear that "petroleum industry sponsors" were funding that type of research too? After all, energy is energy and as long as consumers are required to pay for it, somebody will be willing to sell it to them. How about this... if the cell processor is good at this kind of thing, how about somebody create a "seti@home" type of application that PS3 owners could run to break the elusive cellulosic ethanol code while not playing games.
[Source: The University of Houston]