updated 06:47 am EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
Sony, Stanford distributed computing projects ends Oct 23
The partnership between Sony and Stanford University on the Folding@home distributed computing project will come to a close at the end of the month after five years. The project utilized the 'idle' hours on a PlayStation 3 that were donated by a user in order to harness the considerable power of the Cell processor and the console's GPU. This helped Stanford's researchers to crunch through reams of data to advance medical knowledge in the areas of Alzeimer's, Parkinson's disease and cancer.
All told, 15 million PS3 users contributed to the program, with over 100 million hors of computation given over to the project that would otherwise have remained untapped. "The PS3 system was a game changer for Folding@home, as it opened the door for new methods and new processors, eventually also leading to the use of GPUs", said Stanford's project learder, Professor Vijay Pande.
"We have had numerous successes in recent years. Specifically, in a paper just published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, we report on tests of predictions from earlier Folding@home simulations, and how these predictions have led to a new strategy to fight Alzheimer's disease," Prof. Pande added.
"The next steps, now underway at Stanford, are to take this lead compound and help push it towards a viable drug. It's too early to report on our preliminary results there, but I'm very excited that the directions set out in this paper do appear to be bearing fruit in terms of a viable drug (not just a drug candidate)."
The Folding@home application will be removed from Sony PS3s in system update 4.30 due on October 23.