Folding@Home Creator: 360 Of "Limited Help"
Folding@Home proved to be a wildly successful endeavor by Stanford researchers, but perhaps it's simply because they chose the correct platform. While the PS3 has always appeared more powerful on paper, Xbox 360 loyalists have long since questioned the "actual" power of the Cell processor. Well, thanks to several compliments via EA and Factor 5 in the past week, Sony should be feeling better about themselves, and now, another piece of evidence as to the Cell's potential:
Vijay Pande, the creator of the Folding@Home project, spoke to Pro-G about Folding@Home, and perhaps unknowingly gave Sony fans some ammunition. The project harnessed the power of PCs and networked PS3s around the globe to assist with research into Alzheimer's and other incurable diseases. And as it turns out, Pande said the Xbox 360 "is of limited help" to his work.
After being prompted with the question as to whether or not he believed the 360 could be useful, Pande said- "Possibly, although the cell processor in the PS3 is much more powerful for our calculations than the CPU in the Xbox 360."
Pande explained further:
"We are simulating key processes in protein folding and misfolding in Alzheimer's Disease. PS3's are performing aspects of these simulations, and doing so about 20 times faster than a typical PC."
We found out recently that over a quarter-million PS3 users have registered and delivered almost 400 teraflops of computing power. The total computing power at any given time is estimated at 700 teraflops, which is more than double the network's capacity before the PS3 jumped into the program. And while 360 owners would probably like to help out, too, it appears the scientists have their chosen platform.
Guess the PS3 is just a lot better at "folding proteins." Now, let's see what kind of games developers can "fold" into that little chip! We're always looking towards the future.
5/3/2007 Ben Dutka