Forget Folding@home and its feel-good applications. There are cooler things to be done, like cryptography cracking. Taking advantage of the Cell's vector architecture, a security consultant with Security-assessment.com has cooked up a way to to bust passwords open like bad Easter eggs really, really fast. His Crackstation shoves past "the current upper limit of 10-15 million cycles per second—in Intel-based architecture—up to 1.4 billion cycles per second." To put that in non-geek, "Intel processors are designed to do all kinds of complex calculations, whereas the PS3 is good at doing simple things very quickly." The work apparently stands to change the whole cryptography industry.
For one, it shows that using Intel processors or ones with similar architecture as benchmarks "just is not good enough anymore." Cracking cryptographer will probably get faster all around as well, which should ultimately drive stronger cryptography with better implementation. Though they haven't tried it yet, by using a technique similar to Folding@home with distributed loads, the cracking power could obviously be increased exponentially.
All of that said, I just think it's funny how it's emphasized over and over again how "simple" Cell's architecture is, after Sony's spent all this time telling us how complex and awesome it is. [PC World]