PS3s help Folding@Home Break PetaFLOP Barrier

PetaFLOP is such a great word. It perfectly straddles (as few other technical terms can) the borderline between scientifically impressive and downright silly simultaneously. Strictly defined as a quadrillion Floating Point Objects per Second, a petaFLOP is also an amount of processing power roughly equal to every man, woman and child on earth each possessing the ability to perform 75,000 basic math equations in their heads at the same time -- in other words, a whole lot of computing power. For Stanford's ambitious Folding@Home Project, the milestone of one full petaFLOP of throughput has long stood as a crazy-optimistic goal... The kind of benchmark that disease research scientists go to bed dreaming about. Well, as of today Stanford is pleased to finally announce that the power of over 600,000 registered PS3 Cell processors has at last managed to kick Folding@Home through the 1 petaFLOP goalpoasts. And there was much rejoicing.

"The recent inclusion of PS3 as part of the Folding@home program has afforded our research group with computing power that goes far beyond what we initially hoped" commented Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. "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."

"When we introduced PS3, we knew its incredible processing power would allow for a great deal of innovation and creativity," added Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA. "It's extremely rewarding to see that the scientific community has found a way to harness PS3 technology for humanitarian purposes and we continue to be amazed at what gamers and the Folding@home community have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time."

The great success of Folding@Home is certainly an example of how little pockets of individual effort can contribute to a big difference in our global understanding of ailments and disease. While the Sony Corporation occasionally speaks obliquely about opening up the power of the platform to other humanitarian or socially beneficial initiatives (and also about possibly commercializing it). At the moment though, Folding@Home remains the only application of its kind native to the PS3. Those who have somehow missed out on the project can download Folding@Home anytime over the PS3's XMB (Cross Media Bar). With the power saving features and other enhancements offered by Version 1.2, it's easier and more efficient than ever to get on board. Users on other platforms can also contribute by downloading a Folding@Home client for Mac, PC or Linux over at the project's official website.

So let's all raise a glass for Stanford U's Folding@Home project -- now officially the largest and FLOPpiest distributed computing initiative under the sun.

News source: 1Up
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26 Comments

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So erm, what actual useful discoveries have come out of the folding@home project over the years??

So in other words people are leaving their PS3's on to collect dust/contribute to Folding@Home more often than using them to play a game or watch a movie.

Corris said,
:rolleyes:
Or they are leaving them on overnight/when they are away?

In order to create that amount of computing power, most (if not all) of those PS3's would have to be running it 24 hours a day. Meaning there's a nice large chunk of PS3's out there that are being used mainly for Folding@Home.

Back at you

Cryingcure said,

In order to create that amount of computing power, most (if not all) of those PS3's would have to be running it 24 hours a day. Meaning there's a nice large chunk of PS3's out there that are being used mainly for Folding@Home.

Back at you

that is clearly your opinion and not based on any facts.

Narlzac85 said,

that is clearly your opinion and not based on any facts.


Did we read the same quote? How is it his opinion that they'd have to be running 24 hours a day?

Either it's the truth or a lie, but not an opinion.

Impressive. Haven't read whiny posts about my PeeCee being teh better of any console style comment for a while. It's as though your e-penis is being insulted.

Ajapi said,
FLOPS stands for FLoating point Operations Per Second, hence the "all uppercase."

hence the "Just Kidding"

What about kudos for all of the other Folding@Home people who participate with their PCs..... (and no I am not one of those). It just seems like this is PS3 Fanboy Fuel now.... I'm sure there are more then 600,000 registered servers/workstations out there running folding at home..

Actually, infact.. anyone have any hard numbers on what percentage of users are actually PS3's vs Regular PCs/Apples/Etc?

Actually just found them

http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats

Ok... so 2429066 total CPUs, 253303 of which are PS3 CPUs....

So.. lets give all the credit, to the 10% of the PS3 users instead of the community that has been active with PC/Max/nix for years and years.... I bet everyone got a free PS3 @ Stanford in that Dept for these quotes...

phiberoptik said,
What about kudos for all of the other Folding@Home people who participate with their PCs..... (and no I am not one of those). It just seems like this is PS3 Fanboy Fuel now.... I'm sure there are more then 600,000 registered servers/workstations out there running folding at home..

Actually, infact.. anyone have any hard numbers on what percentage of users are actually PS3's vs Regular PCs/Apples/Etc?

Actually just found them

http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats

Ok... so 2429066 total CPUs, 253303 of which are PS3 CPUs....

So.. lets give all the credit, to the 10% of the PS3 users instead of the community that has been active with PC/Max/nix for years and years.... I bet everyone got a free PS3 @ Stanford in that Dept for these quotes...


Except those 10% contribute over 75% of the computing power. Without the PS3, they'd only be at about 250 GigaFLOPS.

MrA said,

Except those 10% contribute over 75% of the computing power. Without the PS3, they'd only be at about 250 GigaFLOPS.

You have a URL to show that? I'd like to see.

MrA said,

Except those 10% contribute over 75% of the computing power. Without the PS3, they'd only be at about 250 GigaFLOPS.

PROVE IT

Digitalfox said,

PROVE IT :ermm:


They would actually be at about 250 TeraFLOPS.
The proof is in the link the link the first guy posted showing the amount of CPUs.

Indeed, according to http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=osstats the PS3s provide nearly an entire petaFLOPS by themselves coming in with 933 teraFLOPS. The PCs (including some of their ATI GPUs) provide only 263 teraFLOPS.

So, the PS3s provide 78% of the total processing power for Folding@HOME, which I do believe is a very significant amount, and obviously the only reason they were capable of reaching the 1 petaFLOPS goal.

What you all fail to notice, is that most calculation results from PS3's have to be retested many, many, MANY times, because most of the results are not reliable.

David3k said,
What you all fail to notice, is that most calculation results from PS3's have to be retested many, many, MANY times, because most of the results are not reliable.

And where does it say that?

mrp04 said,
They would actually be at about 250 TeraFLOPS.
The proof is in the link the link the first guy posted showing the amount of CPUs.

Oops. :redface:
My bad.
*stupid units*

This is incredibly encouraging.
Glad the gamer set could finally contribute to something other than the pr0n and cheetohs industries!
:nuts: