PS3 & FAH network enters record books


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Political Access
7 Oct 2004
Pretty amazing stuff

Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 10:41 GMT

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PS3 network enters record books

Protein folding is critical to most biological functions

A project that harnesses the spare processing power of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) to help understand the cause of diseases has entered the record books.
Guinness World Records has recognised folding@home (FAH) as the world's most powerful distributed computing network.
FAH has signed up nearly 700,000 PS3s to examine how the shape of proteins affect diseases such as Alzheimer's.
The network has more than one petaflop of computing power - the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.
"To have folding@home recognized by Guinness World Records as the most powerful distributed computing network ever is a reflection of the extraordinary worldwide participation by gamers and consumers around the world and for that we are very grateful," said Professor Vijay Pande of Stanford University and a leader of the FAH project.
Disease link
Distributed computing is a method for solving large complex problems by dividing them between many computers.


256 billion calculations per second
2.5MB of on-chip memory
Able to shuttle data to and from off-chip memory at speeds up to 100 gigabytes per second,
234 million transistors


The Cell's hard sell

They harness the idle processing power of computers to crunch small packets of data, which are then fed back over the internet to a central computer.
The technique has been used by several groups to study everything from how malaria spreads to searching for new cancer drugs.
One of the most high profile projects is seti@home, which uses computer cycles to search through thousands of hours of radio telescope signals for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.
FAH uses distributed computing to examine protein folding and how it maybe linked to diseases.
Proteins that do not fold correctly have been implicated in diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntingdon's, BSE and many cancers.
Speed test
Until March this year, FAH only ran on PCs.
The program had around 200,000 computers participating in the program, the equivalent of about 250 teraflops (trillion calculations per second).
The addition of 670,000 PS3s has taken the computing power of the network to more than one petaflop.
By comparison BlueGene L, which tops the list of most powerful supercomputers, has a top speed of just 280.6 teraflops. The boost is in part because of the PS3's powerful processor, known as the "cell", which runs up to 10 times faster than current PC chips. "It is clear that none of this would be even remotely possible without the power of PS3, it has increased our research capabilities by leaps and bounds," said Prof Pande.
I think it's ridiculous that Sony is touting their PS3, which is a new part of the F@H family, without recognizing the contributions of people who have been folding for YEARS before the ps3 came out.

No class in my opinion. Sony is turning into an Apple-like elitist clique.

If F@H had not handicapped the PPD for the Ati r580 cards, they would be a lot higher in the list.
I can't see anything where Sony is touting the PS3. I don't understand why you may seem bitter about this. :suprised: Isn't it all for the good of Folding in the first place? the more the merrier, where the 360 or Wii? It would be incredible if Microsoft joins with a client of their own.

As the story reads, its simply a recognition about the achievement :)
F@H entered the guiness books as the best distributed computing project with the highest amount of processing dedicated or something and Sony touts its achievements while failing to recognize those who have been folding for years.

I consider that to be a class-less act. And I think that the Xbox360 should get it's own client but Microsoft is probably not going to open up their box for the lads at stanford anytime soon :(
Xbox360 can run linux can't it :p

BTW this reminded me to throw FAH on my desktop machine at home which I seldom use. Also found a diskless PXE bootable version of the client which I might have a play with.

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