Folding@Home reaches a Petaflop

Written by Joe Martin

September 21, 2007 // 11:06 a.m.

Tags: #cancer #folding #foldinghoe #playstation-3 #protein #ps3 #psn

Folding@Home is a great project, one which shows how gamers and enthusiasts from across the world can come together for one single, shared purpose and help end suffering across the world without doing a damn thing.

The project, for those not in the know, let's people contribute some of their unused CPU power towards a system dedicated to investigating protein folding, a cutting edge technique which could one day prove critical to fighting back against all manner of diseases and cancers. Protein folding is something which is incredibly complex you see and therefore it needs all the CPU power it can get.

PS3 owners has been particularly lauded for the way they have embraced the project, with over 250,000 PS3 owners jumping in and more than doubling the processing power of the program.

The Folding@Home project, which is centralised at Stanford University, has reached a massive landmark in it's development today and the combined processing power of the project is now equal to a single petaflop. That's one quadrillion floating point calculations every second.

Put another way, it means that every single person on the planet would have to do 75,000 calculations a second, every second in order to achieve similar results. It's a concept so massive that Microsoft Word doesn't even recognise a Petaflop as existing in its dictionary. Needless to say that the boffins at Stanford are pretty happy about the whole thing;

"The recent inclusion of PS3 as part of the Folding@home program has afforded our research group with computing power that goes far beyond what we initially hoped," said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead.

"Thanks to PS3, we are now essentially able to fast-forward several aspects of our research by a decade, which will greatly help us make more discoveries and advancements in our studies of several different diseases."

If you're still not involved in the Folding@Home project then you can join up here and you can find out how to join Team Bit-tech (AKA Team 33346) by clicking here. In the meantime, why not head to the forums and pass some congratulations around? 
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