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nrs421
08-26-06, 07:35 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5287254.stm


The spare processing power of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) will be harnessed by scientists trying to understand the cause of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Sony has teamed up with US biologists who already run the distributed computing project, folding@home (FAH).

The project harnesses the capacity of thousands of PCs to examine how the shape of proteins, critical to most biological functions, affect disease.

FAH say a network of PS3's will allow performance similar to supercomputers.

With 10,000 machines joined together the researchers calculate they should be able to do a thousand trillion calculations per second.

If that was achieved it would be nearly four times as fast as the world's most powerful supercomputer, IBM's BlueGene/L System, capable of 280.6 trillion calculations per second.

Complex problems

Distributed computing is a way of solving large complex problems by dividing them between many computers.

Volunteers download a piece of software that uses their PC or PS3's processing power when it is idle.

In this way small packets of data can be crunched by individual machines, before being automatically fed back over the internet to a central computer where all of the results can be viewed together.

The method is already used by scientists examining millions of simulations of how malaria spreads to look for ways to control the disease.

Other groups are searching through thousands of hours of radio telescope signals for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Biological processes

The FAH uses distributed computing to examine protein folding and how it maybe linked to diseases. The way in which proteins contort underpins almost every biological process.

When they do not fold correctly they can cause diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers.

Scientists still do not entirely understand how or why this process occurs.

To try to gain a better understanding, scientists need to simulate the complex folding process.

However, although a fold may take just ten millionths of a second (10 microseconds) in the body, it takes far longer to simulate on a computer.

An average PC would take all day just to simulate just one billionth of a second (one nanosecond) of protein folding, and 10,000 days to simulate a complete fold.

Dividing the problem up allows the researchers to speed through many more simulations.

Advanced gaming

The scientists hope the arrival of the PS3 will take this research up another level.

Sony has demonstrated a piece of protein-folding software that will run on its PS3 when it is launched in November.

The PS3 has a powerful processor known as a "cell", which will run up to 10 times faster than current PC chips.

A graphical interface, also being developed between Sony and FAH, will eventually allow users and the scientists to look at the protein from different angles as it folds in real-time.

The new interface takes advantage of the PS3's graphics chip, designed for advanced gaming.

The graphics application is currently undergoing tests and is expected to be finished by September.

When the program is released to PS3 owners, the scientists say they will be able to "address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally".

PeterJensen
08-26-06, 07:51 AM
And i need this why?

brady
08-26-06, 08:08 AM
The PS3 has a powerful processor known as a "cell", which will run up to 10 times faster than current PC chips.

Wow.

Bad_Boy
08-26-06, 08:22 AM
And i need this why?
who said you did? This is for folders specifically.

npras42
08-26-06, 10:41 AM
And i need this why?

You don't. This is like erm... you know... like... CHARITY!

Anyway, its for a good cause, so there's really no need to abuse it. There will likely be millions of PS3 owners out there and if half of them became 'folders' then that would help this cause massively.

PeterJensen
08-26-06, 10:45 AM
Wow.

So its 10 times faster then my new Core 2 Duo....And the PS2 was a supercomputer right?:p

Bad_Boy
08-26-06, 11:02 AM
Anyway, its for a good cause, so there's really no need to abuse it. There will likely be millions of PS3 owners out there and if half of them became 'folders' then that would help this cause massively.
50%...wow? lol

I think if even 1% of PS3 users were start folding with their consoles, at the end of the generations lifetime, it could still be a very significant stamp for significant overall folding power in the world.

lets just speak theorectically...
1% of 100 million (ps2's numbers at the end of lifecycle) is 1,000,000
as of last month Folding@Home only had 181,919 active CPUs.
see where im going with this?

that could really push the power of folding.

but of course, you will have the people who dont understand distributed computing, or basically dont care, and will **** on the idea of using a console for a folding machine. I guess its all fair game, but I dont see why you would **** on something like this, even if it's not your thing. and I'm not just saying as another bulletpoint for sony, the advantages can easily seen if you dont look at it with tinted glasses.

oldsk00l
08-26-06, 11:05 AM
Some people buy entire PC's and dedicate them just to folding.

If you could fold with your PS3, this would actually really help. With this in mind I may get a PS3 and put it to work doing folding. I really wish xbox 360 could be applied this way too.

The nature of the PS3 though makes it an ideal system for these types of calculations. That's some serious computing power put to a great use, this is a great find thanks.

Mr_LoL
08-26-06, 11:08 AM
Dont even know what folding is. Going to have a look at wiki now.

Toss3
08-26-06, 12:39 PM
Dont even know what folding is. Going to have a look at wiki now.
Could you post a linjk if you find anything as I've got no idea what folding is either? :o

|MaguS|
08-26-06, 12:45 PM
I hope they allow you to set it to fold when the system is idle so if I go out it would start folding automatically or when im at work.

brady
08-26-06, 01:04 PM
Dont even know what folding is. Going to have a look at wiki now.

Folding...

http://www.rd.com/images/tfhimport/2003/20030301_Clutter_Free_Laundry_page006img001.jpg

Bad_Boy
08-26-06, 01:15 PM
I hope they allow you to set it to fold when the system is idle so if I go out it would start folding automatically or when im at work.
Well being that it should run on the linux client/distro of ps3, I dont think you will be playing games while its running in the first place.

And about folding, think of it as...a program taking bits of your cpu power (not really enough to notice when your using it), to calculate situations of protein algorithms to help find new cures (many different diseases can be applied). Now imagine, not just your computer doing this, but thousands of other computers to calculate these situations together for a bigger impact.

the idea behind folding is that the world has millions of computers connected to the internet just sitting idle, and this basically takes use of all that idle cpu power and applying it towards something useful, such as finding cures. (but this actually is one of many things distributed computing can be applied to, finding cures just happens to be one of the most popular) this work would otherwise require the use of major super computers with teraflops, but with thousands of computers working together....well you get the point. its all for a good cause. some websites even work together with their members to achieve a higher status of folding, almost competing with other sites. (i beleive nvnews has a folding thread in the open discussion forum)

now with the ps3 equal to about 10 desktop computers in folding alone(according to standford), you could come up with some crazy results if ps3 users ended up supporting this in the ps3 lifecycle (even if it's a small percentage as I stated earlier).

good link for more info than i could possibly provide
http://folding.stanford.edu/faq.html#project.folding

GamerGuyX
08-26-06, 01:32 PM
The PS3 being a "supercomputer" reminds me of the PS2 before it was launched. We know how that all turned out...

|MaguS|
08-26-06, 01:36 PM
The PS3 being a "supercomputer" reminds me of the PS2 before it was launched. We know how that all turned out...

Yup, best selling console on the market...

S.I.N
08-26-06, 01:37 PM
I think this is the cool part about it and what may make alot of people actually run it.


Sony will be providing software that will turn your personal gaming console into a client computer of the FAH project. While the Cell microprocessor crunches the chemistry, the graphics chip displays the actual folding process of the protein molecule in real-time - a first for FAH. If your curiosity gets the better of you - or you happen to be interested in medical chemistry - you can navigate the 3D space of the simulated molecule using your PS3 controller.

Screenshot of the PS3 FAH client software in action
http://ps3.qj.net/uploads/articles_module/63155/abeta-PS3_qjgenth.jpg

Q
08-26-06, 01:48 PM
Yup, best selling console on the market...

I think he meant "Rubber-Duck-floating-in-water demo that is supposed to be how 90% of PS2 games will look like" as it compared to "reality". (Which was still good, mind you, but not CG level like it was expressed explicitedly over and over)

On topic: If people actualy run this and no one minds...what's the big deal? If it helps the world out and has no negative side effects....why not?

nekrosoft13
08-26-06, 01:49 PM
So its 10 times faster then my new Core 2 Duo....And the PS2 was a supercomputer right?:p

yeah, ps2 was able to launch nukes remmember?
haha

Acid Rain
08-26-06, 02:08 PM
The PS3 has a powerful processor known as a "cell", which will run up to 10 times faster than current PC chips.
Wow.Faster than which "PC chips"? Top end Core 2 Duo?

GamerGuyX
08-26-06, 02:18 PM
Yup, best selling console on the market...

That's not what I meant.

What I did mean was that the PS2 never ended up having the power equal to a supercomputer.

Bad_Boy
08-26-06, 02:38 PM
You say that like somebody called the cell the fastest supercomputer in the world. This is very false, but in the same respects the cell is a very fast cpu and can be considered a super computer in many ways. For example...

IIRC the fastest computer (or super computer if you want to) in the world pushes 153 teraflops per second.

According to these standford numbers, it takes 100 PS3's to reach 10 teraflops.
So no, its not an amazing super computer in that perspective.

But when you compare it to desktop oriented CPU, for example say a G5.
It pretty much leaves it in the dust.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_95-rmYNo
cell does this demo at 720p at about 20fps
same demo on a G5 mac running it about .5fps?
you do the math.

let me point this out before you guys have a fit, this is applied a tech demo. not real gameplay situations by far. but still, the numbers show this isnt just a "ps2 super computer." ;)

oldsk00l
08-26-06, 03:06 PM
You say that like somebody called the cell the fastest supercomputer in the world. This is very false, but in the same respects the cell is a very fast cpu and can be considered a super computer in many ways. For example...

IIRC the fastest computer (or super computer if you want to) in the world pushes 153 teraflops per second.

According to these standford numbers, it takes 100 PS3's to reach 10 teraflops.
So no, its not an amazing super computer in that perspective.

But when you compare it to desktop oriented CPU, for example say a G5.
It pretty much leaves it in the dust.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_95-rmYNo
cell does this demo at 720p at about 20fps
same demo on a G5 mac running it about .5fps?
you do the math.

let me point this out before you guys have a fit, this is applied a tech demo. not real gameplay situations by far. but still, the numbers show this isnt just a "ps2 super computer." ;)

Think about it though, if 500 PS3 owners run this you have some serious horsepower being put to use.....

Toss3
08-26-06, 03:22 PM
Think about it though, if 500 PS3 owners run this you have some serious horsepower being put to use.....
500? More like 500,000.. :) It's really great that they're including this sort of thing, since my consoles often just collect dust the first years since there are so little good games for it. And now we all don't have to feel bad about spending 600€, that we could have donated to charity, on a console. :o I know it ain't much, but it's a start and people who work together work better than people who work individually. ;)

Mr_LoL
08-26-06, 04:00 PM
Could you post a linjk if you find anything as I've got no idea what folding is either? :o
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding_at_Home
Best I could find really.

Zelda_fan
08-26-06, 04:00 PM
The PS3 has a powerful processor known as a "cell", which will run up to 10 times faster than current PC chips.

That sounds like some NV40-type horse-****.