PS3 is just 12 percent of F@H clients, but 78 percent of the new petaflop record
On September 16, the massive distributed computer that is Stanford's Folding@Home project broke the 1 petaflop barrier, and today Sony has put out a press release congratulating itself on its contribution to the achievement.
The release touts the considerable parallel computing power of Sony's PlayStation 3 console, and it places the number of PS3 users who've participated in the effort at 670,000. (A glance at the project's clients list suggests that fewer than half that number are currently contributing.) "It is clear that none of this would be even remotely possible without the power of PS3," said Stanford's Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Folding@home project lead. "It has increased our research capabilities by leaps and bounds."
As I described in some detail back in March, the PS3 is definitely a Folding@Home powerhouse. The Cell processor was designed for the kinds of "embarrassingly parallel" workloads that distributed computing projects are premier examples of. There's no better indication of Cell's prowess than the F@H active clients list; though the PS3 represents only 12 percent of clients, it is responsible for 78 percent of the project's total TFLOPS. Truly, the project wouldn't be anywhere close to a petaflop if were for Sony's console. Too bad it's not doing as much for the company's games division.