Hi there. I'm at Stanford, and we're about to see the first demo of the PS3's Folding at Home app. Folding's Dr Vijay Pande and SCEA's Jack Tretton are presenting. More in a bit, as I update this post while I go along.
Sony's setting up the PS3's monster brain to handle Folding at Home distributed computing using cell processors. Folding at Home, the networked app that uses spare CPU cycles to do Alzheimers research, typically was done on the PC. It's ideal to use many PCs, over a network (the Internet) and combine those results. Instead of taking years on supercomputers, they can use thousands of home computers to make it happen at home. And now, PS3s. A good reason to buy one. (Consider it charity.)
The question for nerds is why fold on a PS3 over a fast PC?
Why PS3 — 20 to 30 times faster than the "average" PC. (We'll ask what that means in a bit)
It uses: Broadband, plus the Cell proc, and there are 2million PS3s out there. (They said that's a lot, but its really not. There are over 20M ps2s out there, and an uncountable number of PCs.)
The graphical component of folding on PS3 is strong. It should be much richer than the PC. (We'll see.)
Full HD, many display and found modes. Can watch the folding in real time.
They've been developing folding on PS3 since 2006.
Interactive visualizer. Can watch others in the world fold at home.
Load the folding at home icon, off the cross media menu. You can even set it to autoload.
On start, it will download the data for a protein molecule, and compute it locally, and then uploads it when you're done. (How long?)
Look, you can zoom in, and get performance stats, and join a team. I'm going to get a gallery up. And then a vid. Should be up in 10.
I'm done updating this post. Hit up this link to see the rest of our coverage. B.L.