back to article Sony updates PS3 protein-probe program

Sony has rolled out the latest version of the Stanford University-created Folding@Home protein analysis utility for the PlayStation 3. Folding@Home distributes the task of analysing how protein molecules fold and unfold across millions of connected computers, including the PS3. It's hoped that the analysis will reveal how these …

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Nice Update

Faster code. Tackles more complex problems. Excellent. The PS3 is already contributing a disproportionate amount to Folding @ Home, this should help improve on that past performance.

I note that Sony themselves are getting in on the custom soundtrack bandwagon. It would seem that this is a strong indicator to game developers that a) the functionality for custom soundtracks is there, and b) it's not hard to do and c) if Folding@Home can do it, then there's no reason why games shouldn't.

Like the sound of that auto shutdown feature. I bet a lot of people will use this. Often I'll leave the PS3 on, Folding, so I can charge up a controller. Some people may not be comfortable doing this because of the open ended nature of it, and the potential power guzzle of leaving the PS3 on all the time. This feature let's you set a limit so you complete the current work unit, which should be just enough time to fully recharge a controller, before shutting down.

And now, the time honored tradition of a 'fanbois' attack on those less fortunate: I wonder why Microsoft still hasn't bothered to implement a Folding client for the FPSbox 360? I mean, I understand that when 30% of their units were RRODing after mild use it was probably not a great idea to let the console grind away at 100% load. But now those sparkling new Falcon based consoles are just so irresistibly cool, surely an FPSbox 360 F@H client could be made available for owners of the newly infallible 360s? Unless of course, they're still prone to that whole overheating thing...? Oh, wait, they are still prone to that overheating thing. Oops. Ah well.

Thank you, we now return you to your pre-fanbois attack programming.

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jai
Silver badge

cool

i like leaving the folding@home app whenever i'm not playing the ps3 - so the machine is running nearly 24/7 - but it is a bit annoying that i have to stop f@h to play music

this is the perfect solution - now i can leave the ps3 playing music loudly to annoying the neighbours while i'm on holiday AND i'm also helping withteh research to save mankind :)

@highlander - good point about giving the games developers a push in the direction of allowing us to use our own soundtracks. possibly it is only now available because of the recent firmware update?

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@Highlander

To continue the slight fanboy rants: the original xbox had several games that could use music stored on the HD as custom soundtracks. Project Gotham 2 (best in the series) definately could and I know there were others. So basically, Sony is just catching up to what M$ did six years ago...

As for F@H, the feature I want is background downloading. I admit I havent tried it with the newest version, but previously I had to choose between F@H and downloading demo's. F@H lost.

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Boffin

Folding @ Home

Has nayone done any studies into the amount of energy consumed by folding @ home and seti @ home and the like?

I bet on the world stage it is a pretty significant amount.

Also, what is the fire risk of leaving electronics equipment on 24/7 unattended?

I at least can see a little point in the folding at home program, the seti one is just taking the piss!

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Philip

Ya, I know. That was why I made such a point of the 'fanbois' comment. I was poking fun at the whole fanboy thing, while at the same time asking a serious question about where the F@H client for the 360 is.

Regarding background downloading, I was surprised when background downloading popped up in the middle of a game session to tell me it had downloaded the 1.2GB Burnout Paradise demo. Surprised, and please. I'd have thought that the F@H client could support it, after all, the background downloading is handled by the resident OS core running on the reserved SPE. Perhaps for F@H they allow all the SPEs to be used for Folding? Still it can't be hard to add an option to keep that last SPE reserved for the OS even while folding, can it?

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Alien

Where is Seti@home for the PS3?

Searching for potential cancer cures is all very worthy, but there's far more kudos if your PS3 is the one to spot the declaration of war from our new alien overloads, whom I for one will be welcoming...

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris

Probably less power then running the equivelent processes on super computers. Cheaper too.

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@Highlander

Would have thought Sony would spend their time making sure that the PS3 has games that match/better the 360 graphically, include features like rumble controllers and HD video downloads. Plus the @HOME 'feature' that still hasn't appeared.

But I'm sure you'll be enjoying the features of getting your £300 gaming device to sit there analysing data for a university.

Guess the reason the 360 doesn't do it is because the gamers are too busy playing the 100's of games out for it, watching HD video's from download and streaming their media from their PC's...

Personally, as a PS3 and 360 owner (though I'm selling my PS3 on ebay at the moment), I'm not too bothered about F@H, I buy my consoles for gaming and media - not to help universities.

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Happy

folding with background downloading

err, downloaded a couple of large demos last night whilst running the new folding client - on firmware 2.10 - worked fine thanks

very much.

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Coat

@Steven Hewittt

It is actually quite saddening to come and read articles about the console business, because it always turns into a pissing contest, with either side deeply entrenched on their respective side. Have you guys actually tried to enjoy games?

More generally - the 2 console (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) are so much alike that it boils down to the games only available on either platform and one's taste in games.

Both companies are in it for the money - why not stop boasting about which one is better than the other - this project is about helping universities with calculations that may, or may not, lead to a cure for Cancer, or some other disease. Unless you play 24 hours a day, and you do not mind the extra hours of PS3-time on your power bill, then this is a contribution to science that could prove valuable in the future.

Also, if consoles power usage if of such an importance why not opt to pay for "green power", meaning power achieved from renewable power sources, such as windmills, hydroturbines, etc., because then you can play all you want, and let your console fold, without feeling guilt.

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Call me Lynne Truss..

but Cancer does not have a Capital C (unlike Parkinson's and Alzheimer's)

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Stephen

What's your problem?

Apart from a small tongue in cheek pop at the 360 my point was that there is no reason why the 360 shouldn't have a F@H client.

If you want me to take pot shots in your little fanboy cock-fight. You're gonna be disappointed.

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Did I miss a meeting?

Where on God's green earth did this come from? not a bad idea I suppose, but this was a complete curve ball for me.

Well intentioned I'm sure

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Re: Why no Folding for 360?

I vaguely remember Sony throwing the Folding team a pretty large wedge of cash to keep it exclusive, or at the very least pay to get the best client possible. Microsoft obviously haven't done the same.

I remain unconvinced it's worth it, with the 360 - the energy usage for the payoff probably isn't good enough with its general-purpose CPU. Meanwhile the Cell is pretty much designed to deal with this sort of data; maybe Microsoft just don't want their performance to look bad?

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re: Steven Hewittt

I'm surprised to hear that you are selling your PS3 now, isn't this about the worst time in the history of the universe to do it?

The price has just dropped, the really good games are just starting to come out (after a slow first year common to all consoles*) and the future looks pretty good for the PS3. You'll lose a lot of money and a perfectly good BluRay player.

Just my two cents worth.

*Except the Wii, but hey, there's an exception to every rule

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@Tony Chandler

To repeat a point I made in a comment on another article recently. If you do some brief research at Metacritic you'll find that Wii and PS3 have a roughly equivalent number of games. You'll find PS3 has more games with reviews of 75 or better, than Wii, and more games with a review of 50 or better, than Wii. In addition, the drop off of review scores for Wii games is actually appreciably sharper when compared to PS3.

It matters not though, because when a Wii title gets good reviews, it gets great reviews. Wii has more titles with scores of 90 or more than PS3 does.

The point being that it's wrong to suggest that the Wii has somehow had a better year for games than PS3, or vice versa. That particular concept started with the DS/PSP flame wars of a couple of years ago. Though after the first year or so PSP and DS have been essentially neck and neck on games. Stepping outside that for a moment, I am encourages that a game console maker other than Nintendo has managed to carve out a market of more than 25 million users for a hand held gaming device. For a long time it looked like Nintendo would have no competition. Now that they definitely do have competition, better products are the result. Everybody wins.

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PIB
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@Steven Hewitt

"Guess the reason the 360 doesn't do it is because the gamers are too busy playing the 100's of games out for it, watching HD video's from download and streaming their media from their PC's..."

Please don't pretend to speak for anyone but yourself: Don't tar us all with the same brush.

I like to think I do my share of helping humanity: I'm not a selfish, 'me,me,me' kiddie gamer, as you seem to advocate.

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