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After the success of the non-profit Folding@home project, Sony is interested in leasing out computing power to companies willing to pay

Sony is interested in offering discounts and other incentives to have PlayStation 3 owners create a type of supercomputer grid that can be utilized by businesses.  A number of companies -- especially those working in the medical and pharmaceutical industries -- are interested in harnessing the power from PS3s instead of paying outright for a supercomputer.  Sony would likely have to pay users to keep the PS3 running all the time for the benefit of paying businesses.

Sony is unsure how many PS3 owners will be interested in having someone utilize the computer power of their PS3.  Sony spokespeople said the plan is still in the research stage, so types of incentives and which companies are interested have not been announced.  Discounts on products, free downloads, exclusive content, and points are all possible incentives PS3 owners might receive.

The PlayStation 3 is the main choice for supercomputing since Sony's next-generation console has so much processing power, courtesy of the IBM Cell processor.  A newtork of 10,000 PS3s has the power equivalent to 200,000 home PCs, Sony claims.  

Reports were published last month that showed PlayStation 3 game consoles would be able to participate in Stanford University's Folding@ home program -- a popular distributed computing project that uses the processing power for biomedical research.

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RE: Why not?
By fic2 on 4/12/2007 4:26:12 PM , Rating: 4
Let's see:
Sony makes money off of it.
The company buying compute power doesn't spend as much and presumably makes money off of drugs or whatever it develops.
You spend money to help big companies make more money.
Yeah, seems like a winner for someone....

This seems like a gov't type thing - tax the little guy so that the big guys can get richer. Granted, at least it is a voluntary tax.

RE: Why not?
By Yeah Yeah on 4/12/2007 4:41:38 PM , Rating: 1
my point was to help humans in general. I wasn't talking about how big businesses would owe us, but how we owe it to each other. Who cares if businesses make money off this. I care about cures. If I can help, I will. Why because I am not broke, or petty enough to let things like money get in the way. Big business might be, but I am not.

RE: Why not?
By Griswold on 4/12/2007 5:29:22 PM , Rating: 5
I would never donate any processing power (and therefore money) to a profit-oriented project. There are enough non-profit projects out there, that will make their findings publicly available (and in the end, somebody will still make money with it, but not by having a monopoly on a cure ) and if Sony kicks F@H to the curb because they rather make a fast buck with my unit/power, I'd just turn it off.

Its not like the pharma industry cares about you or me. They want our money - and thats ok, but I say: go and earn it, but not with my help and then turn around and sell it back to me because theres no alternative like there would be if the research becomes public domain.

Matter of principles.

RE: Why not?
By Kuroyama on 4/13/2007 11:08:18 AM , Rating: 3
When academic research projects make a discovery they usually patent it, then either license it or start up their own company. For instance, Yale made over $100,000,000 on an anti-AIDS drug that was discovered there. Unless the F@H folks have specifically said that any discoveries they make will not be patented (have they?) then don't fool yourself into thinking academic research = no monopoly or no profit.

RE: Why not?
By fic2 on 4/12/2007 5:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
I think for me it would depend on the project. Something like folding@home I would do, but something where Sony charges company X $1M for a month of time on 10,000 PS3 doubtful. At least not for free.

It's kind of like a taxi company wanting to borrow your car while you aren't using it and you paying for the privlege of letting them.

RE: Why not?
By PrinceGaz on 4/13/2007 11:15:54 AM , Rating: 3
It's kind of like a taxi company wanting to borrow your car while you aren't using it and you paying for the privlege of letting them.

Or more accurately, you paying for the petrol they use while they borrow your car.

RE: Why not?
By bob4432 on 4/12/2007 8:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
there is no $$$ in the cure, just the medicine!!!!!! we will never see a cure for anything, just drugs to keep it all under control. call me a conspiracy theorist but that is how i feel. medicine in all its forms is probably a multi trillion dollar a year industry globally, so why would they make a cure and stop the $$ coming in?

i have suffered from a serious neuromuscular disorder since 1999 and when you figure i take ~600 pills/mo and get injections that cost thousands of $$$ 3-8x/year do you think the medical community wants to stop making thousands off me alone? when you consider i see a neurologist, pain managemnt, family doc and neurosurgeon many times a year i alone employ numerous people by suffering, so do you think anybody really wants me to get better? hell no, they would rather see me suffer, live a sh!tty, painful life while they get fat $$$ wise off of my suffering.

your thoughts are in a good place, but reality tells me that there will never be a cure when serious amounts of $$$ will be lost. so the last major ailment that was cured was what, polio? and when? now think about how much more knowledge we have now along with computing power and we still don't have cures for anything else in the past 50+yrs (not sure of the exact time, but quite a while) but we sure have come a long way with meds to keep things under control but not fix them, and many people have gotten rich through the suffrage of people living with horrible ailments....just think about it....

RE: Why not?
By Lakku on 4/12/2007 10:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if I had to believe in a conspiracy, this would probably be the one. However, we have gotten to the point with modern medicine that most viruses and bacteria infections can be 'cured', treated, or made better. AIDS is one of the last major diseases we have no cure for that is not genetic or a neurological disorder. The reason I don't believe the conspiracy is for that reason. Cancer, neurological disorders, muscle disorders etc. can occur in a lot of families for a variety of reasons, mostly genetic or enviromental. We as a civilization haven't figured out how to fix these disorders, either before or after birth. Either way, these disorders aren't like viruses etc that can be stamped out due to a vaccine, and will afflict people for years to come. Therefore, they would still be able to make massive amounts of money off of cures or vaccines, because either 1) EVERYONE would be getting the vaccine or 2) people will be at risk or will develop cancer or other diseases etc., and thus there will always be money to be made. Hence, no conspiracy for me.

RE: Why not?
By bob4432 on 4/13/2007 2:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
eventually everyone would be vaccinated - like smallpox and then no more $$$, hence no more vaccines.

RE: Why not?
By Manfred on 4/15/2007 3:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
Umm yeah I just got my second smallpox vaccination a few years ago. Small pox is alive and well, just not as wide spread as it used to be.

RE: Why not?
By Gatt on 4/13/2007 12:36:17 AM , Rating: 3
Two things.

1. We in the Medical field are no more happy about dealing with sick people than the people are about being sick. We work our butts off with impossible patient to staff ratios, sick people jump all over us for the littlest thing like they're the only one in the building. Trust me, if we could cure everyone of everything so that we'd only have to see you for emergencies/checkups/get cure, we'd do it in a heartbeat.

2. Drug companies aren't the only ones who can find cures, plenty of non-profit groups, universities, and solo-researchers working on problems that finding a cure is in their best interests.

RE: Why not?
By bob4432 on 4/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: Why not?
By Kuroyama on 4/13/2007 11:09:48 AM , Rating: 2
It depends. Some are definitely nearly fraudulent, even if technically legal (look at all the United Way scandals), but for the most part non-profit workers are not particularly well paid.

RE: Why not?
By DeltaZero on 4/13/2007 6:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
Somehow I believe you more than the conspiracy people.

Whoever finds a cure will make loads of money, not to talk about publicity. I seriously doubt that somebody wouldn't do it because 10 years later lots of OTHER people would lose their jobs. Even if that person would still want to continue working with all the money, I believe he/she would easily find employment.

RE: Why not?
By TheGreek on 4/13/2007 10:02:28 AM , Rating: 2
"there is no $$$ in the cure, just the medicine!!!!!! we will never see a cure for anything, just drugs to keep it all under control. call me a conspiracy theorist but that is how i feel. medicine in all its forms is probably a multi trillion dollar a year industry globally, so why would they make a cure and stop the $$ coming in??"

But the greed will continue to your benefit. Rx Co A makes $1000/month from one of your meds, then Rx Co B comes out with another drug that costs $800/month and gains a customer. Wouldn't you expect that to happen? Look at Rogaine and how much the cost of that has dropped in order not to lose market share. But that's in general of course, and may not apply with rare health issues.

Vaccines by the way need to be administered to everyone. Polio, smallpox, etc.

The other question is, what's the alternative? Is is better to keep paying from a treatment or save your money and no options?

Yes Rx Co.s are very greedy. What co. isn't?

RE: Why not?
By cplusplus on 4/13/2007 11:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think you're lying, and I don't doubt anything you say, but I'm not gonna let the fact that half of that rant was stolen from a Chris Rock comedy special slide. Give credit where credit is due.

RE: Why not?
By hobbes7869 on 4/13/2007 8:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
I think one of my favorite views is how it seems many of you really have a large disdain for "big business" What is wrong with big business? Is it not okay to try to further a company and make profits for the share holders? Is that not what the majority of people actually want, more money? Sit down for a moment, think of how big business really benefits you...they keep you employed. Whether you work directly for the big business, or they buy your companies products or services. Granted some have abused their power, IE: Enron, worldcom, but most people, I believe would venture to say that big business is not inherently evil. The goal of companies is to maximize profit, whether big or small.

RE: Why not?
By person462 on 4/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Why not?
By fic2 on 4/12/2007 5:41:20 PM , Rating: 3
What the hell are you talking about?

And what country is "this country"? You do realize that there is actual internet access beyond the borders of the U.S., right?

RE: Why not?
By Trisped on 4/12/2007 6:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, every country with a set tax system I have heard of charges more to those who make more money. US is a little extreme though, rather then charging a lot of luxury taxes (though we do have them) we change the rich a higher % in taxes. So for example someone living on minimum wage might pay 15% taxes, while someone taking home millions might pay 34% of there income as taxes. Even if you switch to a flat tax system a person taking home 25k, but paying the same 20% as the person taking home 5000k will be paying 5k vs the 25k paid by the better off individual.

RE: Why not?
By fic2 on 4/12/2007 7:19:46 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, in the U.S. if you made more than $94,200 in 2006 you automatically got a 6.2% increase in wages for amounts above that since social security tax only went up to that amount. If you are self employed your raise was 2x that since you pay both employee and employer.

And, actually, if you are self employed you probably pay yourself much less in actual salary and the rest as a "dividend".

There are all kinds of ways to structure your payments so that you get taxed a lot less. Also, if you are pretty wealthy you are probably writing off that vacation home you haven't used in a couple of years.

The U.S. needs to go to some kind of consumption tax so that people start saving instead of consuming. I like

And, BTW, I am self employed and I my income did go over the SS cutoff.

RE: Why not?
By deeznuts on 4/13/2007 1:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
With a consumption tax the poor can be overly burdened with taxes since they consume more of their income then the wealthy. Basic necessesities and simple luxuries take up a lot more of their income then someone wealthy.

RE: Why not?
By TheGreek on 4/13/2007 10:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
Why would basic neccessities have a consumption tax? Last I looked food from a store has no sales tax. Prepared food is another story.

RE: Why not?
By Kuroyama on 4/13/2007 11:21:37 AM , Rating: 2
If you consider Social Security money as money lost down a hole then you're right, but if you consider it as a mandatory pension system then people over $94,200 may have higher take home pay but that's not the same as higher wages or less taxes.

A consumption tax may or may not be a good way to go, but Fairtax's claim that a 23% tax will suffice (with a rebate paid too) is absurdly optimistic. This is the wrong forum to debate that though, so I'll leave it at that.

Anyways, my, we've drifted far from the original topic.

RE: Why not?
By TheGreek on 4/13/2007 10:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
"while someone taking home millions might pay 34% of there income as taxes"

Marginal rates, not overall rates, and reductions for capital gains which probably make up a much larger percentage of their income.

All that before creative accouting kicks in.

RE: Why not?
By Dactyl on 4/13/2007 4:01:13 AM , Rating: 2
You spend money to help big companies make more money.

No, you spent the money to buy the PS3, to play games and watch movies. And you get that.

And if you want, you can sell your unused CPU cycles to big, eeevil companies that are working on new technologies and more advanced medicine. Horrors.

Anyway, Sony isn't doing this for the money. Sony is doing this because it brings credibility to their console. They get to say: "see, it's a real supercomputer, unlike the 360." That sells consoles.

RE: Why not?
By damncrackmonkey on 4/14/2007 3:38:40 AM , Rating: 2
No, you spent the money to buy the PS3, to play games and watch movies. And you get that.

No, you spend money on electricity to run the CPU for these projects when you're not using the PS3.

Anyway, Sony isn't doing this for the money.

Do you work for Sony? If you don't, I can't really see how you could even make this claim.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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