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PlayStation 3 cure-finding machine to get update

Sony Computer Entertainment was proud to let it be known that great progress has been made in the one month since PlayStation 3 became part of Stanford University's Folding@home program, a distributed computing project aimed at understanding protein folding, misfolding and related diseases.

"The PS3 turnout has been amazing, greatly exceeding our expectations and allowing us to push our work dramatically forward," said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home program lead. "Thanks to PS3, we have performed simulations in the first few weeks that would normally take us more than a year to calculate. We are now gearing up for new simulations that will continue our current studies of Alzheimer's and other diseases."

The PS3’s inherent skill at protein folding is largely due to its Cell Broadband Engine, which is amongst the fastest in the network and is bested only by the fastest GPUs. According to Sony, more than 250,000 unique PS3 users have registered to the program in just one month. PS3 users are delivering nearly 400 teraflops, representing more than half the computing capacity of the network's 700 teraflops at a single moment.

"We continue to be thrilled with the ongoing contributions of the PS3 user community in helping the Folding@home program study the causes of many different diseases that afflict our society," said Masayuki Chatani, Corporate Executive and CTO Computer, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "As we move forward, we are issuing a call to action for all PS3 owners around the world to download the Folding@home application and help this cause. These PS3 fans can also be part of history as the Folding@home distributed computing program inches closer to achieving a petaflop - a measure of computing power that has never before been reached."

In related PS3 Folding@home news, tomorrow will see the release of an application update that will further enhance program by improving in folding calculation speeds, increasing visibility of user location on the globe and giving the ability for users to create longer donor or team names. PS3 users can download the new update version 1.1 by restarting the Folding@home application.

Earlier this month, IBM and Mayo Clinic announced that they have successfully adapted and tested the Cell Broadband Engine for use in medical imaging.

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RE: Cell's real strengths
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2007 4:56:11 PM , Rating: 0
What I like is that Sony claimed Cell was capable of 2 TFLOPS of processing power. Even if you consider that one member said that only about 29500 PS3s are normally active with 387 TFLOPs of output, that equates to .013 TFLOPS per PS3. A little off wouldn't you say?

If you wanna go by Sony's own marketing number of 250,000 PS3s doing F@H, it would be .0015 TFLOPs per PS3.

Xenon would likely perform very good as well at this but it really wouldn't have to since the GPU could do the work. I kind of wonder why the F@H team hasn't come out with a 360 client given that the ATI GPU would far outperform Cell at folding.

RE: Cell's real strengths
By OxBow on 4/25/2007 5:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, I've experienced no problems, whatsover, in gaming on my PS3, so to say that the Cell isn't good for gaming is a little specious. It does this just fine, and once more games come out for it, I think most people will agree that the PS3 is a fine gaming machine. Expensive yes, but good at many different things INCLUDING gaming.

Stanford has a fairly comprehensive FAQ on how they compute the performance and TFlops. They are very clear that you can't just divide the TFlops by how many PS3's are "active" since both factors have different, not simply divisible, definitions. This is mainly due to the fact that some PS3's will work non-stop all the time, while others only work occasionally, and updates and reporting is very random. Any way you look at this, it's good news for Stanford and the advancement of science.

As for the 360, I feel that it's high time Microsoft stepped forward and joined in. The type of fan loyalty that each console generates could create a pretty useful competition with folding@home the real winner.

RE: Cell's real strengths
By PlasmaBomb on 4/25/2007 8:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Stanford tend to be fairly unoptimistic when calculating TFlops of performance and do so on the basis of the returned workunits.

RE: Cell's real strengths
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2007 10:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
Where exactly did I say the PS3 or Cell was bad for gaming. Is Cell the best processor for games which involve tons of branching code? No. The PPC core driving Cell has horrible branch prediction the same as Xenon. An AMD X2 would be far better as the core of a gaming console.

But they're fast enough to get the job done and supply the graphics card with information to draw the scenes and make decisions for AI, physics, etc.

RE: Cell's real strengths
By JimFear on 4/26/2007 9:01:01 AM , Rating: 2
Don't quote me on this but I believe Cell can be used to do some nifty rendering stuff before the data is sent to RSX alleviating it of some number crunching, something to do with geometry and lighting I believe, Resistance was an example of this kind of programming as you can see the draw distance and the level of detail (all with high AA and AF) without any major slowdown. I was very impressed with the level of detail the PS3 provided and as of yet haven't seen anything similar on 360 (yes I own one and enjoy it before anyone starts complaining).

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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