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Supercomputing Entertainment Games Science

PS3 Helps Folding@Home Reach World Record Status 51

Posted by Zonk
from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.
mytrip wrote with a note that the PlayStation 3 should be very proud of itself. Sony's monster-powerful console has lifted Stanford's very own distributed computing project (Folding@home) into the record books. "Guinness has apparently certified the project as the world's most powerful distributed computing system. According to a release from Sony, Folding@home topped 1 petaflop last month, meaning that it surpassed a thousand trillion floating point operations per second. By comparison, the well-known SETI@home project has topped out, according to Wikipedia, at around 265 teraflops, or 265 trillion floating point operations a second." There appears to be a team slashdot if you're looking for someone to support. Go fighting 006666!
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PS3 Helps Folding@Home Reach World Record Status

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  • Impressive! (Score:5, Funny)

    by seebs (15766) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @05:47PM (#21189359) Homepage
    It'll tank once there's some games out. :)
  • Crack BLU-RAY! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @05:58PM (#21189485)
    Imagine if they were to focus all those PS3's on cracking AACS keys and thus decrypting BLU-RAY movies.

    It would be the ultimate case of the hardware hand of Sony working against the hollywood hand of Sony.
  • Neat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by king-manic (409855) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @06:07PM (#21189583)
    thats a neat record. As a former genetics student i can definitely appreciate the contribution to science it offers. As a PS3 owner I don't' run folding@home often for fear of burning my house down. The PS3 is very quiet but gets a bit warm after 3h of folding@home.
    • by empaler (130732)
      I don't own a GS3, but logically speaking, isn't there an option to set how large a percentage of the CPU power you want to limit the folding to? If there isn't, there ought to be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wildsurf (535389)
      I don't run Folding@Home on my PS3 for two reasons. First, because their boneheaded screensaver locks out AutoPlay on CD's! My PS3 doubles as a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player for my living room, and it's ridiculous to have to turn on my TV to navigate the menus whenever I pop in a CD; I just want the damn thing to start playing. Second, it would be nice if Folding had the option to automatically run at night only, so it would only use power at off-peak hours, and incidentally help heat my house at night. :-) I get
    • Re:Neat (Score:4, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @09:53AM (#21195863) Homepage
      The PS3 seems to be pretty solid when it comes to heat and ventilation (i.e. no RoD on every third console like on XBox360). I think the problem with folding@home is much more a matter of price. Electricity cost money and unlike a decade ago todays CPUs actually use less power when idle, so this isn't a free ride. According to a quick google search folding@home costs around ~$200 a year if you run it full time, thats quite a good chunk of money in relation to the price of the console itself.
    • by G Fab (1142219)
      the PS3 can put out a ton of heat, but it's designed to withstand it.

      If possible, try to keep that thing vertical. It's more efficient and quiet if you use the chimney design. But Folding at Home does use some electricity. My view is that I did put thousands of dollars into games and systems, so if I'm going to refuse to use it for good causes because of twenty bucks a year in electricity, I'm a bonehead.

      Oh, and make sure you have good fire insurance! Unfortunately, my PS3 is often running folding at ho
  • by ReverendLoki (663861) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @06:15PM (#21189671)

    from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.

    Now this is great. Nice one.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by empaler (130732)

      from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.

      Now this is great. Nice one.

      Wouldn't that be 'science-to-be-done'? (Remember that time I pretended I was going to nitpick at you? Wasn't that great?)
      • by TellarHK (159748)

        from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.



        Now this is great. Nice one.

        Wouldn't that be 'science-to-be-done'? (Remember that time I pretended I was going to nitpick at you? Wasn't that great?)
        No. No it wouldn't be.
        • by empaler (130732)
          Darnit, I should have googled first.

          when there's Science to do.
          When I look out there, it makes me GLaD I'm not you.
          I've experiments to run.
          There is research to be done.
          So close...
      • There's no use crying over every mistake.
        You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.
  • PS3 sales will probably remain steady for the next few years, just like any console. Whenever a few games come out for it, that'll probably increase the amount of computing power; more people will buy the PS3, and you can't be playing games 24 hours a day, right?
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @07:15PM (#21190275)
      No, but you could turn it off for the rest of the time and save energy instead. Not to mention your power bill.

      I ran SETI for a while when I thought it was neat. I quit when they announced they'd been through all the records 3 times and found nothing. Sure, they're doing it again with more detailed information, but that's apparently just not how we're going to find the aliens.

      This project is a little more down-to-earth, but in the end they're still asking us to use our money to fund their research, however indirectly. It's not just 'unused cycles', it's money spent.
      • by at_18 (224304)
        but in the end they're still asking us to use our money to fund their research

        It's not "their". Results are published in peer-review journals (see here) [stanford.edu]. Benefits go to all mankind.
        • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @08:21PM (#21190909)
          It's not "their". Results are published in peer-review journals (see here). Benefits go to all mankind.

          That's great, but its still our money. And its in the hundreds per year(*) its a fair bit of our money too. If you want to donate hundreds per year that's certainly your perogative, its a good cause. But I have finite resources and if I'm going to spend hundreds on a charity, there are other charities I'd rather donate to...and they give tax receipts too.

          (*) Folding at Home runs between $100 and $500 per year.

          The PS3 runs a sustained 200W running folding @ home. That's 140kWh per month assuming you leave it on 24x7. Assuming a $0.12 kWh rate, you'll be paying ~$200 per year in electricity for folding at home. And 12 cents isn't "high"; its much higher in some places (Alaska, California, New York, most of Europe...), and lower in others like most of Canada, Tenessee, Iowa, etc...)

          Check your local rates. And be sure to consider to consider usage type, and steppings. Most utilities charge resential more than industrial, and most have steps where the first X kwH is one price, while the next Y kwH is another higher price. Adding a 140kWH per month to your bill can easily bump you up a step. Even your fridge uses a FRACTION of what the ps3 running folding@home will.
          • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @09:33PM (#21191567) Homepage
            Of course if you run it in winter then you're spending $0 on it. You've got yourself a heat transfer unit with a COP of 1. That's less power you need to otherwise spend to keep your living area warm.

            (note that I'm assuming you don't use a Heat Pump with a COP above 1. If you do then you'd have to take into account that it could heat your place more efficiently than the PS3).

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by vux984 (928602)
              You also would need to factor in the cost of that heat. If you're regular heat comes from a gas furnace the cost of electricity vs gas is relevant.

              On the flipside, in summer, that's just extra heat your airconditioning needs to remove.
            • by lancejjj (924211)

              Of course if you run it in winter then you're spending $0 on it. You've got yourself a heat transfer unit with a COP of 1. That's less power you need to otherwise spend to keep your living area warm.
              Likewise, in the summer, your Air Conditioner needs to run all that much more to eject the 200 watts of additional heat that your PS3 is generating. Leading to even higher energy costs.

              Unless you run your PS/3 outdoors in the summer, of course.

              • by Trogre (513942)
                Except for cars I find the concept of running air conditioning for cooling rather foreign. Are you referring to climates where the ambient temperature exceeds body temperature (37degC), or is it a cultural thing where you live to run air conditioners in the summer instead of pedestal fans?

                Honest question.

                • by dave1g (680091)
                  Many places in the US have high temps above body temperature for about a quarter of the year, and body temp isnt relevant, its more complicated, its how fast/efficent your body can remove heat compared to how fast it generates it. Humidity plays a large part here since it diminishes your cooling ability. Winds help. Direct sunlight hurts, high temp hurts, clothing required (idiot jobs that require a business suit), physical activity...
          • by mailseth (227177)
            Although, if you are running electric heating at your residence, 200W of heat from a PS3 costs the same as 200W of heat from the baseboard heater. One is a bit more useful, though.
            • by vux984 (928602)
              Although, if you are running electric heating at your residence, 200W of heat from a PS3 costs the same as 200W of heat from the baseboard heater. One is a bit more useful, though.

              True. But almost nobody runs a baseboard heater year round 24 hours a day.

              I suppose if you hooked up a thermostat on the other side of the room to the PS3 so it ran your PS3 folding@home when it was too cool, and only until the room reached the temperature you wanted you'd have a comparable solution. ;)
              • by F34nor (321515) *
                Or water cool your computers using the input pipe to your hot water heater. Really kill two birds with one stone.
          • by TheKidWho (705796)
            Yeah, but think about the benefits! 200W is 200W! In winter time you got your very own 200W heating unit running Folding@Home! Kill two birds with one stone.
          • by donaldm (919619)
            I guess you have never talked to a PC gamer with a decent gaming rig, 200W is nothing and in many cases they keep their rig running 24x7. If you look at the F@H stats there are many more PC's than PS3's and many would consume more than 200W. Still the choice of running F@H is up to the individual, after all they or their parents are paying for it.

            On a more interesting note. If you have a PS3 you would know that you get a F@H count every time you complete a work unit and each work unit is 8 hours so this
            • by vux984 (928602)
              I guess you have never talked to a PC gamer with a decent gaming rig,

              Er. I am one. I have one. And no, I don't talk to myself much.

              200W is nothing and in many cases they keep their rig running 24x7.

              A PC at idle uses a fraction of 200W, even a gamer's rig. Even those 'ridiculous' dual 8800GTX's in SLI with Raptor RAIDs and Audigy Platinums on OC'd core2duo don't use much power just sitting there, modern cpus step down their speed, most people have at least the monitor turn off, etc.

              That said, yeah, a gamers
          • by brkello (642429)
            If you have enough money for a PS3, then you can afford running it all year without trouble ;)
      • Whether or not aliens even exist is up to conjecture, and even if aliens exist, it may be very unlikely we're going to pick up signals from them. Our own radio signals have become more ever-present, but also much more local. We're not broadcasting at the strengths we were even 50 years ago, nor the distances we once were. It has been suggested as technology increases, we'll become more radio-silent.

        Folding however has a much better chance of providing tangible benefits to the people on this planet. If a
  • by insanius (1058584) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @07:43PM (#21190551)
    wait a minute....what are we bragging about?....the fact that my ps3 has been idle long enough to decode the humpback whale's genome???....wtf....Hurry Sony and release Uncharted!!!!!!!!......
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @02:07AM (#21193409) Homepage Journal
    and here I thought Sony was only Folding@theMarketplace.

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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