Suffering from its exorbitant price point and a dearth of titles, Sony’s PlayStation 3 isn’t exactly the most popular gaming platform on the block. But while the console flounders in the commercial space, the PS3 may be finding a new calling in the realm of science and research.
Right now, a cluster of eight interlinked PS3s is busy solving a celestial mystery involving gravitational waves and what happens when a super-massive black hole, about a million times the mass of our own sun, swallows up a star.
As the architect of this research, Dr. Gaurav Khanna is employing his so-called “gravity grid” of PS3s to help measure these theoretical gravity waves — ripples in space-time that travel at the speed of light — that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity predicted would emerge when such an event takes place.
“One of those is that Sony did this remarkable thing of making the PS3 an open platform, so you can in fact run Linux on it and it doesn’t control what you do.”
Gaurav Khanna, Ph. D.
Ph. D. in Physics, Pennsylvania State University, 2000
B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Tech, Kanpur, India, 1995
Dr. Khanna works on different problems in theoretical and computational astrophysics: Coalescence of binary black hole systems using black hole perturbation theory and estimation of properties of the gravitational radiation emitted; “Tails” of gravitational waves from rotating black holes and also certain aspects of loop quantum gravity, including cosmology and black holes. His research has been supported by grants from the University of Massachusetts, National Science Foundation (NSF), Glaser Trust of New York, Apple Inc., SCEA (Sony) and the TeraGrid. Dr. Khanna also has keen interests in high performance computing and the theory of control and dynamical systems.