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PlayStation 3 helps Folding@home with further disease research

Aside from powering some of this holiday season’s most impressive games and providing playback of high-definition movies, the Cell Broadband Engine is also exceptionally adept at medical and scientific applications requiring massive amounts of floating-point computational power.
Since joining Stanford University’s Folding@home program in March, the PlayStation 3 has led all processors in sheer productivity numbers. It should come as no surprise that Sony announced this week that PlayStation 3 consoles all over the world have helped the Folding@home project to reach a petaflop, a milestone never before reached on a distributed computing network.
"The recent inclusion of PS3 as part of the Folding@home program has afforded our research group with computing power that goes far beyond what we initially hoped," said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. "Thanks to PS3, we are now essentially able to fast-forward several aspects of our research by a decade, which will greatly help us make more discoveries and advancements in our studies of several different diseases."
"When we introduced PS3, we knew its incredible processing power would allow for a great deal of innovation and creativity," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA. "It's extremely rewarding to see that the scientific community has found a way to harness PS3 technology for humanitarian purposes and we continue to be amazed at what gamers and the Folding@home community have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time."
The Folding@home program runs simulations in protein folding, helping scientists understand – and hopefully curing – diseases such as Alzheimer'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.

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RE: This is a great use of technology
By AlphaVirus on 9/21/2007 2:00:10 PM , Rating: 1
ATI does contribute with some of their GPU models but you have to remember, if you take a low end card such as an ATI9600 or something under an X800 series you barely have enough power to run your own apps. Their choice of which gpus can run the F@H is wise, they are trying to not hinder the weaker computer users.

By Operandi on 9/21/2007 2:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
The same would be said for any GPU, folding is going use whatever processing power you have available. I don't have Folding@Home on my machines but I belive the idea is you fold when the machine is idle.

Not that it would matter though, even if you could get it work a X800 would probably be pretty limited in the types of calculations it could do to be at all useful, not to mention a 9600. Modern GPUs like the 1900 and 8800 are far more open in flexible.

By alancabler on 9/23/2007 3:05:21 PM , Rating: 2
ATI cards pre-x16xx series are not capable of running the FAH GPU client due to architectural inadequacies. x1xxx series of lesser power than x1600 might work, but can't meet FAH deadlines.
NVidia G80 series are allegedly capable, but nVidia has been unable to produce FAH-capable drivers, so far. Many FAH donors w/G80s are anxiously awaiting the next move from nVidia.

A FAH GPU client for the x2 series ATI cards is in the works.

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