The project simulates protein folding in an effort to better understand the formation of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.
This investigation is extremely processor intensive and is perfectly suited to a distributed computing model which allows the workload to be spread among thousands of otherwise idle processors.
The release of version 1.6 of Sony's operating software means that PlayStation 3 users are now able to run the [email protected] client while not using the console.
Just under 30,000 consoles have produced results for the project in the past 50 days.
The programme has been available to PC users for several years, but the PlayStation 3's Cell processor is particularly effective for the [email protected] computations.
The top spot for the number of active CPUs still belongs to Windows-based PCs by at least five to one compared to the PlayStation 3.
But the combined processing power of the active Sony consoles outstrips Windows PCs by 381 teraflops to 157 teraflops.
PlayStation 3 'Work Units' are currently set to take approximately eight hours to complete, but this is likely to be decreased in the future to try to make it easier for users to run their machines only briefly, but still make useful contributions.
However, critics have pointed out that the PlayStation 3 draws around 200W while running [email protected], and that the environmental impact outweighs the potential benefits.
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