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PS3 Downtime To Fight Disease 289

Aerenel writes, "CNN reports that Sony has teamed up with Folding@home to use the PS3 to study how proteins are formed in the human body and how they sometimes form incorrectly. From the article: 'Donating [a gamer's] PS3's down time to researchers could help cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or mad cow disease.' PS3 users will be able to download a software package that tracks when the PS3 is not being used. While gamers are in school, at work, or asleep, their system's Cell processor can be used to perform simulations for research organizations. The PS3, due in November, has gotten serious negative press in the past few months, and this refreshing good news may win back the hearts of gamers still undecided about purchasing the system."
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PS3 Downtime To Fight Disease

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phanatic1a ( 413374 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:21PM (#16132626)
    The PS3, due in November, has gotten serious negative press in the past few months, and this refreshing good news may win back the hearts of gamers still undecided about purchasing the system."

    If I'm already ambivalent about spending that much money on a game system, the question "What will the game system, which I bought to play games, do when I'm not playing games on it?" is not likely to be a significant influence on my decision.
  • Double dipping? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:23PM (#16132646)
    So if we BUY a PS3, and we allow Sony to use the free cylces of my processor, does that mean that if there is a cure found for Alzheimers, other genetic diseases or stupidity, that we as a public will be able to access this new found cure for free? OR do we get our cut? For some reason I think not.

    Please, be a Philanthropist. Let a large megacorporation or partnering pharmacuetical company benifit from this.

    Or save the energy that would have been used for a much more worthwile cause. Powering a megahuge Cray system that could be designed to do it better and faster.
  • by David Horn ( 772985 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:25PM (#16132672) Homepage
    I don't know how much power a PS3 pull at full whack, but I reckon it's got to be along the lines of 500W. If they get 10 million people running this during the day, that's an addition 5GW of load on the electrical system. If you own one, and let it run 18 hours a day for the year, then at 20c per kW/h you're looking at $750 on your power bill.
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:48PM (#16132915)
    If so, buying a PS3 could pay for itself over time. Seriously, I would signup, have them e-mail me CPU usage statistics muliplied by an industry standard rate as a reciept. They're happy to have CPU cycles, I'm happy to have the tax deduction.

    Now if that's the case, can something similar be done with other CPU cycle donations to other projects? I have a multi-core server that spends most of its time idle. Might as well put to some use, eh?
  • Re:Not HAHA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moro_666 ( 414422 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `rotaanimluk'> on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:50PM (#16132939) Homepage
    While probably 10% offtopic, i still hope this gets out to all the science app builders :

      Please make your applications scalable in % of cpu power used :)

      I have a laptop here, cute 3200 bogomips under it's belly, but i refuse to burn my system's cpu in favor of curing cancer. I wouldn't mind to give you 10% or 20% of the cpu power, because that wouldn't heat it up, but your applications that burn at 110% of the power available, are just not usable for most partly "idle" machines. Moreover, you'd get a bunch of workforce from fileservers which are idling on the cpu 90% of the time .. but as long as your applications just slay their performance in cold blood and cause them to run at nearly nuclear explosion temperatures (renicing the process will help against the first issue sometimes, but not the latter), you are just losing possible helpers.

      One minimalistic "sleep" or "delay" into your mainloop, and whoop's , you're going to get more work done than you have ever before. Until then, nothing will fold on my machines over here.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adam31 ( 817930 ) <[adam31] [at] []> on Monday September 18, 2006 @03:53PM (#16132970)
    Well, it all depends on how it's marketed, it could have a huge snowball effect.

    If you award people 'hero points' and display a leaderboard showing how many lives each gamer has saved... or break it down by institution-- like college or business. Especially if the interface is really cool. Maybe have a hall of fame of cool-looking protein folds you could download.

    It could become quite a competition to not play your PS3, particularly if launch titles turn out to be as good as launch titles typically are.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @04:06PM (#16133087) Homepage
    I agree that 500W is a little much, but according to this page [] the 360 takes 145W. I'd imagine the PS3 to be similar.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes