Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun Fact of the Day: 2007-05-01

According to Utility Computing:

Stanford University's Folding@home distributed computing project has seen its capacity more than double in the last month thanks to the addition of idle processor cycles from hundreds of thousands of PlayStation 3 consoles.

Distributed computing is a set-up where a massively complex problem is worked on by many computers. People sign up to help, download a program, and when their computers (and now, PlayStations) are idle, the computers grind away on part of the problem and upload the results. In this case, Stanford is working on "protein folding."

The combined capacity of Folding@home is now about 700 Teraflops (700 trillion floating point operations per second, and the article says that 400 Tflops are being contributed by about 250,000 PlayStations.

It's hard to say whether this indicates that we're not so much a nation of slackers, since a quarter-million PlayStations are sitting idle at any one time. Or, maybe we're such slackers that we can't even summon up the energy to play videogames.

And no, I don't know what "protein folding" is. But it's still a fun fact.


2007-05-12 09:14 EDT

Don't know why I didn't post this when I wrote it. Sorry for the confusion.


Unknown said...

Protein folding is the Holy Grail of bioscience. The different ways proteins fold, what form of folding they are told to do it and when, and the mechanisms DNA and RNA use to issue these commands, are the key to preventing and repairing cellular damage. This could eventually make you live a good portion of forever.

bjkeefe said...

Thanks for your input, Don.