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Distributed computing net makes Guinness, thanks to PS3

Posted: 08 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:protein folding? distributed computing? gamers?

The Folding@home distributed computing project has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the most powerful distributed computing network in the world, and game consoles had a lot to do with it. The network hit the record-breaking mark September 16, when it surpassed the one petaflop milestone. Sony's PlayStation 3 reached its own petaflop mark on September 23, the company announced recently.

"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," Vijay Pande, associate chemistry professor at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead, said in a prepared statement. "Without them we would not be able to make the advancements we have made in our studies of several different diseases. But 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."

More than 670,000 unique PS3 users have registered to the Folding@home network, donating computing power from the consoles' Cell broadband engine.

"This record is clear evidence of the power of PS3 and the contributions that it is making to the Folding@home network, and more importantly, scientific research, " Masayuki Chatani, executive vice president and chief technology officer of the Technology Platform, Sony Computer Entertainment, said in a prepared statement.

Folding@home models protein behavior to help scientists better understand the role proteins play in disease. The findings aim to unravel the mysteries of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and some types of cancer.

The Folding@home program began with volunteers downloading software that puts their PCs to work on the project during idle time. About 200,000 PCs gave the distributed network about one-quarter of a petaflop worth of computing power. In March, PS3 joined. In six months, the program attracted more than 670,000 unique PS3 machines.

- K.C. Jones
EE Times

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