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Folding@home comes to the PS3

Help frag cancer

Sony is to let Playstation 3 users run Folding@home on their consoles, helping the study of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and many cancers.

Folding@home is a popular distributed computing app from Stanford University. It uses the downtime of many thousands of internet-connected PCs volunteered for the project by their owners to process computationally-intensive simulations concerning protein-folding, misfolding and related diseases.

Some simulations could take 30 years to run on a single PC, so running them across the Folding@home network saves a lot of time, Stanford says. The PS3 could help save even more: according to Sony, The PS3's Cell/B.E. processor is about 10 times faster than a conventional PC chip, and so can perform simulations that much faster.

The Folding@home icon will be added to the next updat of Sony's XMB (Cross MediaBar) user interface at the ned of March. PS3 users just have to click the icon to start running. Or they can set their console to run the app whenever it is idle - i.e. switched-on, connected to the internet and otherwise minding its own business. ®