By Keith C. Smith
The power behind video game processors is an amazing thing. The simple GameBoy had as much computing power as the Moon Lander and the Playstation3 is capable of millions of times more. But what if all the power of every PS3 in the world worked together to solve a problem such as cancer?
That’s the plan in the works for the people at Folding@Home, a company that has done similar projects using PCs. PS3 users who download special software could have their system’s computing power automatically diverted to solving immense equations when idle. Alone it isn’t much compared to the insurmountable size of the problems, but the combined power of even 10,000 systems could make significant progress. The computations help in the mapping of proteins which could be the key to solving diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
“With this new technology (as well as new advances with GPUs), we will likely be able to attain performance on the 100 gigaflop scale per computer. With about 10,000 such machines, we would be able to achieve performance on the petaflop scale,” the team added. “With software from Sony, the PlayStation 3 will now be able to contribute to the Folding@Home project, pushing Folding@Home a major step forward.”
For more information about Folding@Home and how you can participate with your PC, [a]http://folding.stanford.edu/[aa]click here.