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.