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PS3 Helps Folding@Home Reach World Record Status

Zonk posted more than 5 years ago | from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.

Supercomputing 51

mytrip wrote with a note that the PlayStation 3 should be very proud of itself. Sony's monster-powerful console has lifted Stanford's very own distributed computing project (Folding@home) into the record books. "Guinness has apparently certified the project as the world's most powerful distributed computing system. According to a release from Sony, Folding@home topped 1 petaflop last month, meaning that it surpassed a thousand trillion floating point operations per second. By comparison, the well-known SETI@home project has topped out, according to Wikipedia, at around 265 teraflops, or 265 trillion floating point operations a second." There appears to be a team slashdot if you're looking for someone to support. Go fighting 006666!

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Impressive! (4, Funny)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189359)

It'll tank once there's some games out. :)

Re:Impressive! (4, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189401)

Well, seems like they're safe for a while then.

Re:Impressive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21194073)

The people who voted this funny must have a case of serious fanboyism. The comments are so last-quarter, and not even funny anymore!

Re:Impressive! (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21194855)

Seems like somebody hit you where it hurt, huh? :-)

Re:Impressive! (-1, Flamebait)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189513)

Games?

I think at this point Sony has confirmed that games were never part of their PS3 business strategy. Why would people want games anyway? They have a PS3, the most powerful machine in the world, why would they need anything else? People should just be happy Sony lets them buy it!

Re:Impressive! (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189653)

And they are- I know so many people who decided to work a second job to earn one.

Re:Impressive! (3, Informative)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189753)

It already tanked. At one point, PS3s alone were responsible for over a petaflop of folding power.

As can be seen on the Stanford website [stanford.edu] , we're still pumping out over a petaflop... but, it's gone way down in the past month. It fluctuates, though... it's basically 40 PS3s to a teraflop. One console pulling out makes a significant difference.

Ratchet and Clank is the best game ever.. (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21193757)

I played the demo of Ratchet & Clank [gametrailers.com] , and it's wonderfull it was the first time I was amazed by a next gen machine since I entered a VR cube [pdc.kth.se] . Not sure if that says something about SGI or about Sony.

But I recommend the newly released Freeciv [freeciv.org] instead, since it's infinitely many times cheaper.

Re:Ratchet and Clank is the best game ever.. (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21199751)

Tools of Destruction is a pretty good game so far. The sixaxis is used well, the graphics and animations are stellar, the locations vibrant and varied, and the weapons are fun, and useful. Definately the systems best game so far.

Crack BLU-RAY! (5, Interesting)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189485)

Imagine if they were to focus all those PS3's on cracking AACS keys and thus decrypting BLU-RAY movies.

It would be the ultimate case of the hardware hand of Sony working against the hollywood hand of Sony.

Re:Crack BLU-RAY! (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189515)

Just pretend they invented cancer.

I'm sure some people here would believe that.

Re:Crack BLU-RAY! (3, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189559)

Like any technology, cancer doesn't officially exist until Microsoft innovates it.

Re:Crack BLU-RAY! (1)

faragon (789704) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189667)

Well, I respect your right to joke, unfortunately I can not find it funny anymore, you insensitive clod :-(

Re:Crack BLU-RAY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21190039)

I am part of a people so rife with a certain kind of cancer, it has been named after us. I found it funny...

Remember, every day 30'000 children die of starvation. If you can't laugh at your own misery, you're barred from laughing altogether.

Re:Crack BLU-RAY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21191883)

I am part of a people so rife with a certain kind of cancer, it has been named after us.
You are an ovary?

Neat (2, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189583)

thats a neat record. As a former genetics student i can definitely appreciate the contribution to science it offers. As a PS3 owner I don't' run folding@home often for fear of burning my house down. The PS3 is very quiet but gets a bit warm after 3h of folding@home.

Re:Neat (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190061)

I don't own a GS3, but logically speaking, isn't there an option to set how large a percentage of the CPU power you want to limit the folding to? If there isn't, there ought to be.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21191357)

While I can understand harboring such a concern given what I've heard about other consoles, my personal experience with F@H running on my PS3 doesn't support such a fear. I have had my PS3 running F@H for over a week strait while out of town, and found the neither unit itself to be overly warn, nor the power cord to be warm at all when I returned.

Re:Neat (2, Interesting)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21193953)

I don't run Folding@Home on my PS3 for two reasons. First, because their boneheaded screensaver locks out AutoPlay on CD's! My PS3 doubles as a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player for my living room, and it's ridiculous to have to turn on my TV to navigate the menus whenever I pop in a CD; I just want the damn thing to start playing. Second, it would be nice if Folding had the option to automatically run at night only, so it would only use power at off-peak hours, and incidentally help heat my house at night. :-) I get cheaper electricity at off-peak hours anyway, and the PS3 hoovers electrons like they're going out of style. (SonyStyle?)

Re:Neat (3, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195863)

The PS3 seems to be pretty solid when it comes to heat and ventilation (i.e. no RoD on every third console like on XBox360). I think the problem with folding@home is much more a matter of price. Electricity cost money and unlike a decade ago todays CPUs actually use less power when idle, so this isn't a free ride. According to a quick google search folding@home costs around ~$200 a year if you run it full time, thats quite a good chunk of money in relation to the price of the console itself.

Re:Neat (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21200483)

the PS3 can put out a ton of heat, but it's designed to withstand it.

If possible, try to keep that thing vertical. It's more efficient and quiet if you use the chimney design. But Folding at Home does use some electricity. My view is that I did put thousands of dollars into games and systems, so if I'm going to refuse to use it for good causes because of twenty bucks a year in electricity, I'm a bonehead.

Oh, and make sure you have good fire insurance! Unfortunately, my PS3 is often running folding at home while I'm on my xbox360 (not a diss against Sony, it's just my tastes). That PS3 ain't gonna burn up, but you never know about the 360 (I call mine 2.0 because it's been replaced).

The best department ever (2, Funny)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 5 years ago | (#21189671)

from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.

Now this is great. Nice one.

Re:The best department ever (0, Offtopic)

empaler (130732) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190137)

from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.

Now this is great. Nice one.

Wouldn't that be 'science-to-be-done'? (Remember that time I pretended I was going to nitpick at you? Wasn't that great?)

Re:The best department ever (1)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190421)

from the look-at-me-still-talking-while-there's-science-to-do dept.



Now this is great. Nice one.

Wouldn't that be 'science-to-be-done'? (Remember that time I pretended I was going to nitpick at you? Wasn't that great?)
No. No it wouldn't be.

Re:The best department ever (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21191365)

Darnit, I should have googled first.

when there's Science to do.
When I look out there, it makes me GLaD I'm not you.
I've experiments to run.
There is research to be done.
So close...

Re:The best department ever (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21191301)

There's no use crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190163)

PS3 sales will probably remain steady for the next few years, just like any console. Whenever a few games come out for it, that'll probably increase the amount of computing power; more people will buy the PS3, and you can't be playing games 24 hours a day, right?

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190275)

No, but you could turn it off for the rest of the time and save energy instead. Not to mention your power bill.

I ran SETI for a while when I thought it was neat. I quit when they announced they'd been through all the records 3 times and found nothing. Sure, they're doing it again with more detailed information, but that's apparently just not how we're going to find the aliens.

This project is a little more down-to-earth, but in the end they're still asking us to use our money to fund their research, however indirectly. It's not just 'unused cycles', it's money spent.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

at_18 (224304) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190303)

but in the end they're still asking us to use our money to fund their research

It's not "their". Results are published in peer-review journals (see here) [stanford.edu] . Benefits go to all mankind.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21190909)

It's not "their". Results are published in peer-review journals (see here). Benefits go to all mankind.

That's great, but its still our money. And its in the hundreds per year(*) its a fair bit of our money too. If you want to donate hundreds per year that's certainly your perogative, its a good cause. But I have finite resources and if I'm going to spend hundreds on a charity, there are other charities I'd rather donate to...and they give tax receipts too.

(*) Folding at Home runs between $100 and $500 per year.

The PS3 runs a sustained 200W running folding @ home. That's 140kWh per month assuming you leave it on 24x7. Assuming a $0.12 kWh rate, you'll be paying ~$200 per year in electricity for folding at home. And 12 cents isn't "high"; its much higher in some places (Alaska, California, New York, most of Europe...), and lower in others like most of Canada, Tenessee, Iowa, etc...)

Check your local rates. And be sure to consider to consider usage type, and steppings. Most utilities charge resential more than industrial, and most have steps where the first X kwH is one price, while the next Y kwH is another higher price. Adding a 140kWH per month to your bill can easily bump you up a step. Even your fridge uses a FRACTION of what the ps3 running folding@home will.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (3, Insightful)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21191567)

Of course if you run it in winter then you're spending $0 on it. You've got yourself a heat transfer unit with a COP of 1. That's less power you need to otherwise spend to keep your living area warm.

(note that I'm assuming you don't use a Heat Pump with a COP above 1. If you do then you'd have to take into account that it could heat your place more efficiently than the PS3).

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21192013)

You also would need to factor in the cost of that heat. If you're regular heat comes from a gas furnace the cost of electricity vs gas is relevant.

On the flipside, in summer, that's just extra heat your airconditioning needs to remove.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21194413)

Of course if you run it in winter then you're spending $0 on it. You've got yourself a heat transfer unit with a COP of 1. That's less power you need to otherwise spend to keep your living area warm.
Likewise, in the summer, your Air Conditioner needs to run all that much more to eject the 200 watts of additional heat that your PS3 is generating. Leading to even higher energy costs.

Unless you run your PS/3 outdoors in the summer, of course.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21197357)

Likewise, in the summer, your Air Conditioner needs to run all that much more to eject the 200 watts of additional heat that your PS3 is generating.

Where I live the house has neither heating nor air conditioning. I still don't run Folding@Home though.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205055)

Except for cars I find the concept of running air conditioning for cooling rather foreign. Are you referring to climates where the ambient temperature exceeds body temperature (37degC), or is it a cultural thing where you live to run air conditioners in the summer instead of pedestal fans?

Honest question.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207747)

Many places in the US have high temps above body temperature for about a quarter of the year, and body temp isnt relevant, its more complicated, its how fast/efficent your body can remove heat compared to how fast it generates it. Humidity plays a large part here since it diminishes your cooling ability. Winds help. Direct sunlight hurts, high temp hurts, clothing required (idiot jobs that require a business suit), physical activity...

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

mailseth (227177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21192367)

Although, if you are running electric heating at your residence, 200W of heat from a PS3 costs the same as 200W of heat from the baseboard heater. One is a bit more useful, though.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21192579)

Although, if you are running electric heating at your residence, 200W of heat from a PS3 costs the same as 200W of heat from the baseboard heater. One is a bit more useful, though.

True. But almost nobody runs a baseboard heater year round 24 hours a day.

I suppose if you hooked up a thermostat on the other side of the room to the PS3 so it ran your PS3 folding@home when it was too cool, and only until the room reached the temperature you wanted you'd have a comparable solution. ;)

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21193521)

Or water cool your computers using the input pipe to your hot water heater. Really kill two birds with one stone.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21193001)

Yeah, but think about the benefits! 200W is 200W! In winter time you got your very own 200W heating unit running Folding@Home! Kill two birds with one stone.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21194533)

I guess you have never talked to a PC gamer with a decent gaming rig, 200W is nothing and in many cases they keep their rig running 24x7. If you look at the F@H stats there are many more PC's than PS3's and many would consume more than 200W. Still the choice of running F@H is up to the individual, after all they or their parents are paying for it.

On a more interesting note. If you have a PS3 you would know that you get a F@H count every time you complete a work unit and each work unit is 8 hours so this is easy to prove and document. It would be interesting to know if it is possible for the tax department to view F@H usage as a tax write off. The best way of getting a tax break on F@H is to contact your local government representative. You may get laughed at but it may work since it could look good from a PR perspective and government reps love that. Any one game to do this? Please inform us cowards if you do and are successful ;-)

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21197661)

I guess you have never talked to a PC gamer with a decent gaming rig,

Er. I am one. I have one. And no, I don't talk to myself much.

200W is nothing and in many cases they keep their rig running 24x7.

A PC at idle uses a fraction of 200W, even a gamer's rig. Even those 'ridiculous' dual 8800GTX's in SLI with Raptor RAIDs and Audigy Platinums on OC'd core2duo don't use much power just sitting there, modern cpus step down their speed, most people have at least the monitor turn off, etc.

That said, yeah, a gamers PC running folding at home, especially an older Pentium D, or someone running the GPU edition can run 200W+. But that's not the point, this article was about the PS3.

Its much harder to say how much the average PC costs to run F@H, a pentium iii system probably sustains 50 to 60W. A core 2 duo probably sustains under 100W. Most PC's use far less than a PS3.

Besides, most extreme gamers don't run F@H on their rig, they don't want the over head or the memory footprint, and they tend to be more acutely aware of things like cpu utilisation, heat, fan speed, power cost, and while they might think its 'cool' they can process more work units per hour with their rig than someone else, they also generally don't want their overclocked cpu and gpu running at 100% utilisation 24x7 for years on end.

The PS3 on the other hand, is an appliance, like a VCR, and most people wouldn't think twice about leaving it on for a year or two.

Re:I don't think the numbers will go down much (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21197469)

If you have enough money for a PS3, then you can afford running it all year without trouble ;)

SETI vs Folding (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21190771)

Whether or not aliens even exist is up to conjecture, and even if aliens exist, it may be very unlikely we're going to pick up signals from them. Our own radio signals have become more ever-present, but also much more local. We're not broadcasting at the strengths we were even 50 years ago, nor the distances we once were. It has been suggested as technology increases, we'll become more radio-silent.

Folding however has a much better chance of providing tangible benefits to the people on this planet. If and when I pick up a PS3, I look forward to installing Folding.

Impressive (-1, Flamebait)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190427)

for the four PS3s there in the wild.

we did it!!! (3, Funny)

insanius (1058584) | more than 5 years ago | (#21190551)

wait a minute....what are we bragging about?....the fact that my ps3 has been idle long enough to decode the humpback whale's genome???....wtf....Hurry Sony and release Uncharted!!!!!!!!......

Obligatory Grammar Nazi Post (1)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21191789)

It's Stanford, not Standford.

And I thought (3, Funny)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21193409)

and here I thought Sony was only Folding@theMarketplace.

many quit SETI@Home thanks to being BOINC'd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21194493)

seti@home lost my support with the abusive way they migrated to BOINC

it was a case study in how to piss off your users by being tyrannical

Re:many quit SETI@Home thanks to being BOINC'd (1)

tiker (604592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21195875)

I think the BOINC platform was the right thing to do for people trying to run multiple projects. Sharing CPU cycles between mutliple CPU hogging applications doesn't work very well.

Re:many quit SETI@Home thanks to being BOINC'd (1)

x-caiver (458687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21199339)

Grandparent post was right though. I stopped running seti@home when the BOINC conversion became mandatory. It wasn't a good app, it was painful to deal with. Maybe things are better now, I don't know - I did try BOINC one other time and it was still lame.
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