PS3 Drives Petaflop Performance Of Stanford Computer

The PS3's computing power in conjunction with about 200,000 other computers on the network have pushed the Folding@home project beyond what organizers had hoped.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

September 21, 2007

2 Min Read

Who would have thought that game console could help contribute to a worldwide distributed computer that could handle a quadrillion mathematical computations per second? But that's just what some Sony PlayStation 3s hooked up to a Stanford University project have done.

Owners who have linked the third-generation videogame console to the University's distributed computing project have driven the medial research system to a peak of one petaflop, Sony said Friday.

Since March 15, nearly 600,000 PS3 owners have joined Stanford's Folding@home program, which studies proteins to understand their role in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, and other diseases. The PS3's computing power in conjunction with about 200,000 other computers on the network have pushed the system to one quadrillion floating-point operations per second.

The inclusion of PS3 has given the project far more computing power than initially hoped, Vijay Pande, associate professor at Stanford and Folding@home project lead, said in a statement. "Thanks to PS3, we are now essentially able to fast-forward several aspects of our research by a decade, which will greatly help us make more discoveries and advancements in our studies of several different diseases."

Within three days of opening the project to PS3 owners, more than 14,000 gamers had connected to Folding@home, using Sony-provided software that must be installed in the system. The free application makes it possible to donate computing power to the network when the PS3 is idle.

The PS3 console has a far more powerful processor than a standard home PC. The console is equipped with several 3.2-GHz Cell processors that are capable of up to 1.8 teraflops of computing power. PS3 users not yet signed up can join the program by clicking on the Folding@home icon within the network menu of the PS3's XrossMediaBar, or can optionally set the application to run automatically whenever the PS3 is idle.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights