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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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By OxBow on 4/12/2007 5:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and no. If you have only a couple problems to solve, this could be a very viable, cost efficient way to "rent" supercomputer time. That's what this really comes down to. It just a different method of paying for essentially the same service.

I think we'll probably be seeing this become a reality next year. There's been a lot of discussion about the future of games involving microtransactions. This trend has already begun and is only going to gain steam. It seems like marrying microtransactions with leased distributed computing would be a no brainer. It's just down to how much the service costs.


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