InformationWeek has a piece in which it noted the role that the PlayStation 3 (PS3) has made to Stanford's Folding@Home program, which studies proteins to understand their role in Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and cancer, among other diseases.
Apparently, the inclusion of the PS3 via the Folding@Home PS3 client has seen nearly 600,000 PS3 owners participate in the program. "This has driven the medical research system to a peak of one petaflop," said Sony last Friday, the 21st of September.
... [the client software] utilizes the new Cell processor in Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) to achieve performance previously only possible on supercomputers.
... we will likely be able to attain performance on the 20 gigaflop scale per computer. With about 50,000 such machines, we would be able to achieve performance on the petaflop scale.
The PS3 console has a far more powerful processor than a standard home PC. The console is equipped with several 3.2-GHz Cell processors that are capable of up to 1.8 teraflops of computing power.If you own a PS3 and would like to sign-up, you can join the program by clicking on the Folding@Home icon within the network menu of the PS3's XrossMediaBar. There you can optionally set the application to run automatically whenever the PS3 is idle.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.