Tuesday, February 5th 2008

Folding@home Hits One Million PS3 Users

Less than a year after the project originally came to the console, the total number of PS3 owners contributing to Folding@home has surpassed one million users – and they’re still registering at a rate of 3,000 a day. Vijay Pande, who is in charge of the project, said:
Since partnering with SCEI, we have seen our research capabilities increase by leaps and bounds through the continued participation of Folding@home users. Now we have over one million PS3 users registered for Folding@home, allowing us to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally, with the goal of finding cures to some of the world's most life-threatening diseases. We are grateful for the extraordinary worldwide participation by PS3 and PC users around the globe.
The PS3 now accounts for around 74% of the total teraflop computing power of the project. For those who don’t know, the Folding@home program runs simulations in protein folding and misfolding, helping scientists understand (and hopefully cure) diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's and certain forms of cancer. If you are looking to get involved in the project, you may be interested to hear that techPowerUp! has its own folding team – all you need is an internet connection and a computer.Source: DailyTech
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15 Comments on Folding@home Hits One Million PS3 Users

#1
1c3d0g
Awesome. Yet another reason to buy a PS3. Rock on! :rockout:
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#2
WhiteLotus
that's a lot of people utilizing their PS3... can the Xbox do this type of thing?
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#3
Ravenas
The awesome thing about this is that it is actually doing some real world good.
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#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
This number is kind of inflated. That is just the total number of PS3 owners that have EVER used folding@home on their PS3. Not the number to total active users.

I folded on my PS3 for a while, I did just under 100 work units on it. I stopped because the damn thing just got way too hot, and I didn't want to kill a $500 machine. Most of these 1Million users are probably people that just clicked on the icon just to see what it was, and only loaded F@H once.

by: WhiteLotus
that's a lot of people utilizing their PS3... can the Xbox do this type of thing?
Yes, it is technically possible for the Xbox360 to do this type of thing, however AFAIK the F@H software team doesn't plan to port the console over to the Xbox360. The Xbox360's CPU is simply too weak to warrant them spending the time on it.

You can read more here.

A breif summary:
Vijay Pande, creator of the Folding@home project, has revealed that the 360 is of limited help to his work.

After being asked if he thought the power of the 360 could be useful, he said: "Possibly, although the cell processor in the PS3 is much more powerful for our calculations than the CPU in the Xbox 360."
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#5
happita
Even if the number is actually inflated, I'm glad that people are using their brains and doing some good for the world, with a CONSOLE SYSTEM nonetheless. It's just amazing.
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#6
Dangle
by: newtekie1
The Xbox360's CPU is simply too weak to warrant them spending the time on it.
Not the GPU :)
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#7
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: Dangle
Not the GPU :)
True, but the work units that can be run on GPUs are very limitted. Technically GPU folding is the fastest possible, but the work they can do is limitted. That is the beauty of the PS3's Cell processor. It is a middle ground. It is very fast at calculations, but not nearly as limitted in work it can do. Developing a GPU client for the Xbox360 wouldn't really be worth it either because the work it could do would be so limitted(especially considering the limitted amount of GPU memory available).
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#8
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Very nice. I dont think the numbers are actually inflated as much as you might think. I fold at Home for at least 6 hours a day :)
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#9
WildCat87
by: newtekie1
Developing a GPU client for the Xbox360 wouldn't really be worth it either because the work it could do would be so limitted(especially considering the limitted amount of GPU memory available).
Ummm....

The general purpose 3.2 GHz triple core IBM processor in the Xbox 360 is obviously better for Folding@Home than all the the single and dual core processors out there...

Also, the Xbox 360's GPU can use ALL of the system RAM, not just 256MB, because of it's unified memory architecture. The dashboard only requires 9MB to run according to Major Nelson (can't find the link right now), so that means the Xbox 360 has 503MB available, plus the 10 MB eDRAM.

The PS3 is clearly better suited for Folding@Home (due to the Cell, which excels at these kinds of calculations), but to say the Xbox 360 is too weak for those kinds of calculations is just ridiculous. It's more powerful that at least 70% of the computers owned all over the world right now.
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#10
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: WildCat87
Ummm....

The general purpose 3.2 GHz triple core IBM processor in the Xbox 360 is obviously better for Folding@Home than all the the single and dual core processors out there...

Also, the Xbox 360's GPU can use ALL of the system RAM, not just 256MB, because of it's unified memory architecture. The dashboard only requires 9MB to run according to Major Nelson (can't find the link right now), so that means the Xbox 360 has 503MB available, plus the 10 MB eDRAM.

The PS3 is clearly better suited for Folding@Home (due to the Cell, which excels at these kinds of calculations), but to say the Xbox 360 is too weak for those kinds of calculations is just ridiculous. It's more powerful that at least 70% of the computers owned all over the world right now.
Well there is several problems faced with bringing the client over to the xbox360, you seem to be confusing several of them and combining the problems with the GPU and CPU clients and apply positives to the CPU client to the GPU problems and vice versa. I'll try to clear somethings up.

First we will start with the CPU client. Yes the triple core CPU is powerful, but it isn't as powful as the multicore CPUs available on PCs. It uses the old PPC architecture that Apple dumped because it wasn't powerful enough. In reality, Intel's Core 2 Duos run circles around the old PPC, which is why Apple switched to them. So no, the "general purpose" CPU in the xbox360 is not more powerful than modern computers, which already have a client developed for them. Compounded on that is the fact that it takes a vast amount of time to develope new clients, and it just isn't worth the effort to develope a CPU based client for the xbox360. On top of that, it needs to be a Multi-threaded client, which is extremely hard to do, the one available for PCs isn't even perfect yet.

As for the GPU client, it simply doesn't allow the range of work units that would make it worth while. It is fast, but limitted. On top of that is that there is only 10MB that is available to the GPU, which isn't nearly enough. The GPU client on PCs requires at least 256MB to run popperly, and really needs 512MB to get any worth while performance.

I would love to see the xbox360 running a F@H client, because it is going towards such a good cause, but when it comes down to it it just isn't worth the time and effort to develope a client for the xbox360.
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#11
Ravenas
by: newtekie1
Well there is several problems faced with bringing the client over to the xbox360, you seem to be confusing several of them and combining the problems with the GPU and CPU clients and apply positives to the CPU client to the GPU problems and vice versa. I'll try to clear somethings up.

First we will start with the CPU client. Yes the triple core CPU is powerful, but it isn't as powful as the multicore CPUs available on PCs. It uses the old PPC architecture that Apple dumped because it wasn't powerful enough. In reality, Intel's Core 2 Duos run circles around the old PPC, which is why Apple switched to them. So no, the "general purpose" CPU in the xbox360 is not more powerful than modern computers, which already have a client developed for them. Compounded on that is the fact that it takes a vast amount of time to develope new clients, and it just isn't worth the effort to develope a CPU based client for the xbox360. On top of that, it needs to be a Multi-threaded client, which is extremely hard to do, the one available for PCs isn't even perfect yet.

As for the GPU client, it simply doesn't allow the range of work units that would make it worth while. It is fast, but limitted. On top of that is that there is only 10MB that is available to the GPU, which isn't nearly enough. The GPU client on PCs requires at least 256MB to run popperly, and really needs 512MB to get any worth while performance.

I would love to see the xbox360 running a F@H client, because it is going towards such a good cause, but when it comes down to it it just isn't worth the time and effort to develope a client for the xbox360.
I honestly never understood this, but now I feel very informed concerning the 360. Thanks much newtekie, learn something new everyday. :rockout:
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#12
WildCat87
by: newtekie1
As for the GPU client, it simply doesn't allow the range of work units that would make it worth while. It is fast, but limitted. On top of that is that there is only 10MB that is available to the GPU, which isn't nearly enough. The GPU client on PCs requires at least 256MB to run popperly, and really needs 512MB to get any worth while performance.
Okay, thanks for that explanation on the CPU. That was cool, but I think you may have missed something I posted based on what I quoted.

The Xbox 360's GPU can use up to 513MB, not only 10MB.

by: WlidCat87
Also, the Xbox 360's GPU can use ALL of the system RAM, not just 256MB, because of it's unified memory architecture. The dashboard only requires 9MB to run according to Major Nelson (can't find the link right now), so that means the Xbox 360 has 503MB available, plus the 10 MB eDRAM.
Either way, like you said, it would be good for everyone if they developed a F@H client for the Xbox 360. It may take some time to do it, but 3+ years of at least 3 million Xbox 360s folding from time to time will still help this great cause.
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#13
Wile E
Power User
by: WildCat87
Either way, like you said, it would be good for everyone if they developed a F@H client for the Xbox 360. It may take some time to do it, but 3+ years of at least 3 million Xbox 360s folding from time to time will still help this great cause.
Not if you take heat related failure rates of the 360 into account. Which, tbh, is what I think the true deciding factor on this is.
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#14
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: WildCat87
Okay, thanks for that explanation on the CPU. That was cool, but I think you may have missed something I posted based on what I quoted.

The Xbox 360's GPU can use up to 513MB, not only 10MB.


Either way, like you said, it would be good for everyone if they developed a F@H client for the Xbox 360. It may take some time to do it, but 3+ years of at least 3 million Xbox 360s folding from time to time will still help this great cause.
That is true, the GPU can use the system memory, just like on computers, the problem is that it is an extremely slow when it does. The F@H client needs a lot of memory directly connected to the GPU. I'm sure they could figure out a way to get the client working using the system memory, but again that is just added steps to an already lengthy process, that in the end won't really help that much. Like I said the work units that can be run on GPUs is very limitted, there are barely enough work units to go around to all the PC users that are GPU folding. Hell, when I had my x1950Pros folding I would go several hours without work to do because there were no work units available for me, which is why I finally stopped folding on my GPUs.

I agree, that if they developed a client for the xbox360 that it would produce meaningful work. However, the time needed to do it can be focussed elsewhere, in places that are going to produced better results. The developers only have so much time, and they need to prioritize that time, and spend it on the areas where they will see the most gain. Unfortunately, the xbox360 isn't one of those areas.
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#15
ShadowFold
I should get my dad to start folding on his..
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