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With Great (Processing) Power Comes Great Responsibility
Company: SCEA
Product: PS3
Even the PS2 had enough processing power that there were certain countries that they couldn't be sold in, for fear that those countries would be able to utilize the power of the PS2 to advance their nuclear weapons capabilities. The PS3 has many times the power of the PS2, so it is obvious that there is a super-computer trapped inside your shiny plastic obelisk, just waiting to use its power for good... or evil.

Well, with the latest PS3 update, you can put that computational muscle to work to aid mankind. No, seriously. You will now find a "Folding@Home" option under the Network menu. After selecting this, downloading, installing and updating, you will be able to let your PS3 collaborate with thousands of others from around the globe, running scientific simulations which could result in the discovery of new medicines to cure various diseases.

The "Folding@Home" project is not new; it's been available for running on personal computers for years now. What is new - and cool - is the interface. While your PS3 is busy folding proteins, you will be able to see the model of the protein in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. In the background, there is a slowly spinning globe that indicates where other PS3s are folding proteins around the globe. You can changing viewing modes with the (SELECT) button, to either minimize the view of the protein or to bring it center stage. With the protein front-and-center, your analog sticks will control your view of the protein, instead of the globe. You can rotate and zoom in and out to get a better look at the current configuration of the protein in progress. Best of all? The graphical display is handled by the PS3's graphics processor directly, while the computation is all handled by the Cell processor. This way, the computation is not slowed down by the enhanced graphical display.

Not only that, but by looking a the stats on the Folding@Home website, it appears that, at the time of this writing, there are about one-tenth as many actively contributing PS3s as there are PCs, but the calculated TFLOPS from those PS3s is 512, versus 186 from the PCs. That means that the PS3 is performing at about 18 times the performance of a PC. This is definitely a reason to start folding on your PS3, but the nice folks at FAH want to inform anyone currently folding on other systems that every client is useful; they still need the PC, GPU and Mac clients to continue their calculations.

You can even join a group and your stats will count for you and your group, so you can see how many "work units" were completed by your group.

If you feel like lending a few extra cycles for a good cause, check out "Folding@Home" and, if you like, you can join GameVortex's group by entering your group code as "71918". Either way, "Folding@Home" seems to be a good cause and will allow your PS3 to do its part for humanity.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins
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