Since last March, the PlayStation 3 has been one of the
leading contributing technologies to the Folding@home effort.
Now, less than a year since
release, more than one million users have taken part in Stanford
University's Folding@home project. According to Sony, this equates to roughly
3,000 PS3 users registering for Folding@home per day or 2 new registered users
every minute worldwide.
"Since partnering with SCEI, we have seen our research
capabilities increase by leaps and bounds through the continued participation
of Folding@home users," said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry
at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. "Now we have over one million PS3 users
registered for Folding@home, allowing us 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. We are grateful for the extraordinary
worldwide participation by PS3 and PC users around the globe."
According to the Folding@home team, a network of roughly
10,000 PS3s can accomplish the same amount of work as a network of 100,000 PCs.
It took just six months after PS3 joining Folding@home for the project to surpass
a petaflops, a computing milestone that had never been reached before by a distributed
computing network. On September 16, 2007, Folding@home was recognized
by Guinness World Records as the world's most powerful distributed
Currently PS3 users make up approximately 74 percent of the
total teraflop computing power of the Folding@home project.
The Folding@home program runs simulations in protein folding
and misfolding, helping scientists understand – and hopefully curing – diseases
such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's and certain forms of cancer.
That’s not all the PS3’s CPU is able to do for the medical community, though,
as the Cell Broadband Engine is also helping
doctors at Mayo Clinic with medical imaging.