Officials from Sony Computer Entertainment have announced more details regarding Stanford University’s Folding@home program. Along with the next firmware update for the PS3 due for release at the end of the month, PS3 owners will be able to click a Folding@home (not to be confused with the previously announced Home virtual world)
Essentially, the program will leverage the power of a distributed supercomputing network of PS3 systems, each of which make use of the Cell Broadband Engine. This program will enable scientists to better understand the protein folding, misfolding and disease related to this such as Parkinson’s. Alzheime’s. cystic fibrosis and many cancers. Simulations of folding proteins can take 30 years for a single computer to complete, but Folding@home enables this task to be shared among thousands of computers/PS3’s connected via the network, ultimately speeding up research efforts.
“Millions of users have experienced the power of PS3 entertainment. Now they can utilize that exceptional computing power to help fight diseases,” said Masayuki Chatani, Corporate Executive and CTO Computer, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “In order to study protein folding, researchers need more than just one super computer, but the massive processing power of thousands of networked computers. Previously, PCs have been the only option for scientists, but now, they have a new, more powerful tool — PS3.”
“We’re thrilled to have SCE be part of the Folding@home project,” said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. “With PS3 now part of our network, we will be able to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally, with the goal of finding cures to some of the world’s most life-threatening diseases.”
Sony says that Folding@home is just the start of distributed computing projects. The company plans to support “a wide variety of academic fields such as medical and social sciences and environmental studies throughout the use of PS3 and hopes to contribute to the advancement of science.”
· A network of roughly 10,000 PS3s can accomplish the same amount of work as the current network or 200,000 PCs in the FAH program.
· The PS3 graphics chip allows for users to actually watch the protein folding that their particular PS3 is simulating on screen with vivid imagery and color.
· PS3 users are able to rotate the protein strand and zoom in and out through the use of the SIXAXIS™ wireless controller.
· PS3 users can view a “live” map of the world that identifies the specific locations where fellow PS3 users are connected to the FAH program.
· The PS3 FAH program will be available to users by the end of March, 2007.
Originally Written By: Sean