Sony’s PlayStation3 is doing more than just entertaining gaming enthusiasts — it has now blossomed into a powerful tool for medical research.
More than 14,000 active PS3 users had connected to Folding@home’s online software by late last week. The Folding@home project uses distributed computing to model the ways proteins fold, which scientists say will help them understand the role of proteins in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases.
Researchers and Sony released a version of the application that allows computers and game consoles to model the way proteins fold so scientists can use the information to research disease. Currently, there are 642,778 anonymous computers signed up for the project.
Almost as soon as Folding@home launched the software application for Sony’s latest video game console, those involved in the project noticed an immediate boost to computing power.
Earlier this week, researchers with the project noticed a spike of 381 teraflops from the software cores coming from PS3 game consoles. That’s more than double the 646 teraflops of combined power of all of the home Windows PCs, Macintosh, and Linux boxes hooked up to run Folding@home’s program.
The PlayStation Network menu of the XrossMediaBar on PS3s allows users to click an icon to download free software and donate computing power when their machines are idle. The PlayStation Network is live in 12 languages and 49 countries, with 57 unique storefronts.
Related Links: Folding@home on the PS3