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PlayStation (Games) Science

250,000 PS3s Folding@Home 111

GamesIndustry.biz reports that over 250,000 users have signed up for the Folding@Home project on the PlayStation 3. The sheer number of users has resulted in '700 teraflops in a single moment', most of which is provided by PS3 users. "'The PS3 turnout has been amazing, greatly exceeding our expectations and allowing us to push our work dramatically forward,' said Vijay Pande, associate professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home program lead. 'Thanks to PS3, we have performed simulations in the first few weeks that would normally take us more than a year to calculate. We are now gearing up for new simulations that will continue our current studies of Alzheimer's and other diseases.'" The article notes the software has a new update with some refined functionality and faster processing.
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250,000 PS3s Folding@Home

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  • $500+ .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:41PM (#18873709) Homepage
    I guess it is at least useful to society
    • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:53PM (#18873909)
      What a shame - all those PS3's, and not a single decent game to play on them.
      • Then you obviously don't own a PS3, and you would know your comments are nothing more than the usual Xbox fanboy drivel.

        I've had my Euro PS3 over a month, and not been bored by any of the launch titles. I am on the Nottingham missions on Offline Resistance:FOM, and I enjoy the online play, considerably more than any of the 360 FPS games I have played to date (I used to own a 360, before It went wrong). Motorstorm is also very enjoyable. When I don't play these, I have Gran Turisno HD, which only has a si
        • by Moryath ( 553296 )
          Then you're obviously a nitwit.

          Motorstorm? Boring as hell. Resistance: FOM? Call of Duty with aliens instead of Nazis, it could have just been released as an expansion pack. I'm not interested in Yet Another Crappy FPS/3PS, thank you.

          Fl0w... good for about 30 minutes. Then it gets boring.

          The only game I remotely enjoy on my PS3 is Lemmings. Other than that, it plays PS2 games. I could have stayed with a PS2 for that.

          Congrats on being a Sony Fanboi Loser, now come back when they have some real games to offer
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:42PM (#18873719)
    The only information NOT in the summary is this tiny paragraph:

    The project is also making a new software update available. The 1.1 version improves visibility of donor locations on the globe, folding calculation speed and protein viewing. There's also additional language support, help screen hints, and improved donor-name length and character handling.

    Users can join the program by clicking on the Folding@home icon in the PS3 CrossMediaBar (XMB), or setting the application to run whenever the console is idle.


    Why not just put the entire article in the summary?
    • I would say it is because the originating site wrote the article. If Slashdot put the entire article in the summary, people wouldn't click on the link. That does nothing for Slashdot and annoys the originator since they don't get any credit.
  • but I thought this was supposed to be a video game console? Where are the games? Perhaps Sony's PR machine can tackle that one.
    • How is this not a valid point?
      • by TB ( 7206 )
        Probably becuase its been getting around 7-8 games a month since release, same as the 360 does.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Maybe Sony's using this as a sort 'pay as you go' system. They've realised most people can't afford the console so they're letting people slowly pay them off by donating a portion of their time to scientific research... 'Woo hoo! Only 700 more hours of calorich pragmastiscism indexing and I can totally play some Fight Night! But only for 10 minutes.. The University of Leakston's reserved my processor for some research on abscract non-contuitive phasing for the next 2 months'
    • by DarkJC ( 810888 )
      The games are in your local Gamestop/EB/BestBuy. I keep hearing this over and over from people who think they're being clever, despite the fact there actually are games worth buying these days. I have a feeling a year from now we're still going to be hearing the same pundits saying "Man the PS3 needs games! Heavenly Sword, Lair, MGS4, along with the numerous multiplatform releases such as GTAIV, DMC4, Assassins Creed, etc. don't count! You have no games Sony!"

      And of course, in traditional Slashdot fashi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:42PM (#18873729)
    Of course the PS3s are spending the time doing Folding@Home.

    It's not like there's any games to play on them.
    • Ha nice, +5 funny +5 informative ;P
    • by TB ( 7206 )
      Well Resistance was #1 title across all platforms in europe, and Motorstorm was #5 in US retail charts, seems someones playing those games, probably along with Virtua Fighter 5.
      • Don't feed the trolls. There's a whole bunch of people out there who want to believe that several million units sold is equivalent to zero and that comparing 360 sales to PS3 sales is fair without considering the 360's full one-year lead.

        This is Sony we're talking about -- God of War was not made by a third party, and Insomniac is working on another Ratchet & Clank, not to mention the existing games. I'm hoping Sony works out offering decent music & movie sales soon, but there's no reason to malig
        • You don't even have to look at the grand scheme of things to realize that $100 isn't a big difference in price.

          I think the PS3 is a fine console. It's the first Sony console I've owned and I haven't been disappointed one bit. It's really nice; it's too bad some folks can't see beyond their own ignorance. (I guess that's the definition of ignorance..)
        • by the_tsi ( 19767 )
          I agree with you 100%, but I don't envy the karma you're gonna lose when the wii fanatics go to town on modding you troll.

          (...On the other hand, my ps3 has spent a lot more time playing movie trailers in hd than playing video games, so the grandparent isn't too far off the mark.)
          • My PS3 is just over a month old and has spent almost 250 hours playing video games so far between my wife and I and the five other people who've come over and set up users on it.
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
      I know you were (half-) joking, but I wonder if we'll see drops once popular PS3 games ship (think Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, etc).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by TB ( 7206 )
        No, I wasnt. In places like Australia, PS3 is doing well in the charts, often with 2 titles in the top 3. Almost a million people bought PS3s in March alone.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The premise is that users donate idle system time for computing power. It make sense. I mean how many hours out of a day would you play a gaming system (not necessarily PS3) anyway? Even if there were thousands of titles out for the PS3, any marginally social (or financially conscious) human wouldn't spend all day (and night) playing video games.

      I just hope that positive results come out of their research. However, I do agree that this will be a problem when many research groups want you to donate processin
      • by adona1 ( 1078711 )
        Although if I had a PS3, I would probably turn it off when I wasn't using it or downloading something. If the researchers pay for my electricity, maybe ; )
        • The thing that irritates me about F@H on the PS3 is that it stops background downloads when it's running. When new game demos come out, I usually just start the download before I go to bed. After it finishes downloading, it's just sitting there.
  • Difficult (Score:5, Funny)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:45PM (#18873773)
    Tried it but couldn't get past the first boss level.
  • What is going to happen when distributed computing applications "flood the market" and PS3 owners have several organizations vying for their machine's idle time? How many people, confounded by so many choices, will simply choose to donate no computing time at all?
    • by shoptroll ( 544006 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:55PM (#18873935)
      A similar question is how long until PS3 owners lose interest in this? F@H has been around a lot longer than the PS3. I've been running it on my PCs for a couple years now off and on, but are gamers going to keep leaving their machines on at night once the novelty and "my machine is helping cure cancer, how about yours?" wears off?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by TB ( 7206 )
        PS3 owners can set F@H and other Dist apps due later on to run any time to unit is idle, be it for 10 mins or constant. Becuase it only takes around 8 hours (1.0) to crunch a unit they dont need to leave it on as long to do the same work as a PC would so 10 mins here and there would add up quickly.
      • Simple answer: Sony needs to offer folding as a service and send rebates back to PS3 owners. Then, not only will the PS3 be affordable, but it will also be a profit for it's owners.
        • I heard they're planning on selling out the network of users to any company willing to have them crunch numbers. No word on whether or not people are gonna be reimbursed for the time/electricity/bandwidth for this.
      • I would point out that there is no opportunity cost to the owner. While their PS3 is folding, they can be off doing something else. There is nothing to lose interest in, because they aren't actively doing anything. They set their machine, and it goes merrily on its folding way.

        As for electricity cost?
        Let's say upper range: 217W * 8h = 1.6kW/h

        Heck, let's go max. 380W * 8h = 3.4kW/h (Note: Completely unrealistic. Assumes 100% efficiency)

        Average price of electricity is 10 cents or so. You're paying between 16
        • by vux984 ( 928602 )
          The bloody thing costs $400 off of EBAY, and you're trying to tell me the electricity cost will matter?

          Uh. Yeah. For people who can add at least. I posted this on /. before:

          The PS3 is reported to run 220W when running folding@home.

          In, for example, New York, the average residential cost of power in 2006 was 16.86 cents: (http://www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf/electricprices. html)

          So 220W or 0.22kW x .1686 $/kWh x 24h/day x 365days/year is: $324.93 per year.

          That kind of money would buy you quite a few new games o
      • I kind of agree with you here. I run F@H on my PS3 and I do it now and then in an attempt to finish one or so chunks of data a month. Nothing to write home about, but hey the novelty of trying to help a good cause never wears out for me. cheers.
        • I ran F@H for a couple days, but I lost interest in paying the electricity bill. I'd use it if it supported background downloading. I'd leave it on for the night whenever a new game demo/video came out.

  • A small disparity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heinousjay ( 683506 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:47PM (#18873819) Journal
    According to the folding@home OS stats page [stanford.edu], a total of 99712 PS3s contributed as of 25 Apr 2007. Where did the 250,000 come from?
  • 250,000? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:50PM (#18873857) Homepage Journal
    According to this page [stanford.edu], they are at about 691 teraflops with the PS3 producing 388 of those. I'm kinda confused on where they get the 250,000 number as that page also says there are about 30,000 active CPUs and about 100,000 total (as in 70,000 CPUs once participated but haven't returned data in five days). I mean, there's barely 250,000 total active CPUs including all platforms.
  • I should pick up a PS3 so I can play it.

    LOL all those M$ fanboys dont even know about this HOT ESCLUSIVE TITAL!
  • by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @03:18PM (#18874311) Homepage
    Best laundry sim on the market.
  • I know some (myself included) are wary of just running it 24/7. It'd be nice to have an option to have it do one WU then shut the PS3 off. My first PS3 locked up after a few days of folding and I had to exchange it. Now I'm wary of folding for more than a day or two without powering it down. Probably just a bum PS3 in the first place but... yeah.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MarkGriz ( 520778 )

      I know some (myself included) are wary of just running it 24/7.


      Considering the fact that running it 24/7 uses 144 kWh per month (200 W x 24 hrs x 30 day) I'd be pretty wary myself.
      Even at a generous 10 cents/kWh (the US national avg), that's almost $15/month.
      If you are unfortunate enough to live where electricity is much higher than that, you are closer to $25
      • First off, Sony's replacement system is so fast you'll never notice your PS3 was missing (my first one died too, and the entire replacement time from "phone call" to "new PS3 all hooked up and playing" was less than 36 hours).

        Second, $15-$25 a month is nothing (especially considering you were able to afford a PS3, and probably some games for it, and maybe even an HDTV and some Blu-ray discs...). Plenty of things cost $15 a month, MMO's, credit protection scams, insurance....and none of those things are cur
        • by Eccles ( 932 )
          I wonder how much a solar panel setup would cost that would power a PS3. You would want to bypass the DC->AC->DC conversion, of course.
        • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @05:06PM (#18876035)
          A $180 check to the Alzheimer's foundation would be $15 a month to cure Alzheimer's, and it has the further benefits of:

          A) letting the foundation pay for whatever research it feels is most important, which might include the folding@home project but might not (or, if you specify with your donation, could possibly go to the project of your choice);

          B) does not necessarily consume electricity at residential rates using many, many distributed lossy AC->DC conversions, which for most people means additional cost cooling one's house in the summer and an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions;

          C) would be tax deductible, so depending on your tax bracket you could donate $200-$225 to this cause, reducing the amount of money you give the government to pay for whatever it wants, but further increasing the amount of money going to research you want.

          Alzheimer's runs in my family, and keeping a computer running at my home all day is a stupid way to cure it. The only possible benefit is that it hides the cost in the electric bill instead of making people write out a check. That would be silly but harmless if that electricity wasn't polluting the atmosphere.
          • That's all well and good, I've given thousands to the Alzheimer's foundation as well as donating part of my tax return to them every year. The fact that you can do one good thing doesn't mean you shouldn't do another. People can run their PS3's and help without having to think about it (which is really what most people want, not to have to think about bad/hard things). You're not going to get millions of people to write checks and consciously donate money, but you just might get them to leave their game
            • Certainly, your mileage may vary. My home is powered from solar and wind only; for every consumer who has made such a choice, folding@home is (as I said) silly but harmless. I absolutely agree that many people would rather pay a lot more each month on their utility bill than write one check, once a year, because overall most people are lazy.

              The problem is that there is a high correlation between people who don't bother to switch to clean energy, and those who won't bother to write out a check. There are
              • Yeah... very convincing. I'm sorry, but of the 100.000 of people currently running their PS3 for the F@H project, only an extremely small fraction would probably donate anything they save on their electric bill. And allthough I'm really behind all this green energy, this should not be the reason not to run it. And calling it silly is an insult to the university running this program... I for one, have more faith in them for using the processing power in a meaningfull way. I'm sorry, but even if someone doe
        • I wonder if you could use your electric bill as a tax write off...
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) * on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @04:05PM (#18875009)
    It's called turning it off, and helping do your little bit to cut CO2 emissions and cutting your electricity bill at the same time!

    Doesn't Sony know? Curing cancer is so last century, this century it's all about carbon emissions.
  • Wha.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by fitten ( 521191 )
    You mean Sony has actually sold 250,000 PS3s? ;) (I kid, I kid, notice the winking smiley, please don't flame me :()
  • To all those people that complain about power usage in every single story about the ps3's folding@home, tell me, would it be more energy efficient to use a PC to do the same thing? Considering how much faster each ps3 is than a pc (excepting the GPU client, which is very limited to what kinds of calculations it can do), and the fact that the ps3 uses about the same amount of power as a low- to mid-range PC, I'd like to hear the real reason so many people are complaining about the power usage. Or would you
  • good on them (Score:2, Insightful)

    a very good use of the PS3's spare processing power, and disease research is much more worthwhile than looking for aliens

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]

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