Officials from Sony Computer Entertainment have announced new details of the Folding@Home distributed computing project on PlayStation 3, which is used to aid in calculations relating to the study of protein folding and protein folding diseases.
The collaboration with Sony was first announced by Leland Stanford Junior University
in the U.S., in August of last year. The project is already being run by joining thousands of PCs throughout the world, with a concept similar to the popular SETI@home screen saver, which analyzes radio-telescope data to find evidence of intelligent signals from space.
The Folding@Home project involves simulations to help study protein folding and related diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington's Disease, cystic fibrosis and certain forms of cancer. Once the data is processed by PCs and PlayStation 3s running the software the information is sent back via the Internet to the project’s central computer.
The Folding@home software is expected to be added to the PlayStation 3’s XMB (XrossMediaBar) via the 1.6 firmware update being released at the end of March. As on the PC, users will be able to either set the application running manually or have it run automatically whenever the PlayStation 3 is idle.
“Millions of users have experienced the power of PS3 entertainment. Now they can utilize that exceptional computing power to help fight diseases,” said Masayuki Chatani, CEO and CTO Computer, SCEI. “In order to study protein folding, researchers need more than just one super computer, but the massive processing power of thousands of networked computers. Previously, PCs have been the only option for scientists, but now, they have a new, more powerful tool - PS3.”
“We’re thrilled to have SCE be part of Stanford University’s Folding@home project,” said Vijay Pande, associate professor of chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. “With PS3 now part of our network, we will be able to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally, with the goal of finding cures to some of the world’s most life-threatening diseases.”