I missed this last week, but Sony demonstrated the Folding@Home distributed computing project running on the forthcoming PlayStation3 videogame system. Managed by Stanford University chemists, Folding@Home uses spare computing power to simulate protein folding in an effort to understand how certain diseases develop, including Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and Huntington's Disease.
From the Folding@Home PS3 FAQ:
With this new technology (as well as new advances with GPUs [Graphics Processing Units]), we will likely be able to attain performance on the 100 gigaflop scale per computer. With about 10,000 such machines, we would be able to achieve performance on the petaflop scale. With software from Sony, the PlayStation 3 will now be able to contribute to the Folding@Home project, pushing Folding@Home a major step forward...
The PS3 client will also support some advanced visualization features. While the Cell microprocessor does most of the calculation processing of the simulation, the graphic chip of the PLAYSTATION 3 system (the RSX) displays the actual folding process in real-time using new technologies such as HDR and ISO surface rendering. It is possible to navigate the 3D space of the molecule using the interactive controller of the PS3, allowing us to look at the protein from different angles in real-time.
to Folding@Home PS3 FAQ, Link
to BBC News article, Link
to video of "Cure@PS3" demo on YouTube (Thanks, Mike Love, via Smart Mobs)
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