Here is a great way to put the Playstation 3 to good use for a social cause. The Folding@Home project works by joining together hundreds of thousands of PCs throughout the world, as a sort of powerful and cheap supercomputer. Users have to download a software , which runs in the background, utilizing unused CPU power, or as a screensaver while the user is away. The software studies protein folding and protein folding disease. This massive distributed computing, has led to numerous scientific advances.
The creators of the project are now harnessing the incredible power of the PS3 to to speedup the process.
Snip from the site:
Now, the project utilizes the new Cell processor in Sony’s PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) to achieve performance previously only possible on supercomputers. With this new technology (as well as new advances with GPUs), we will likely be able to attain performance on the 20 gigaflop scale per computer. With about 50,000 such machines, we would be able to achieve performance on the petaflop scale. With software from Sony, the PlayStation 3 will now be able to contribute to the Folding@Home project, pushing Folding@Home a major step forward.
The screenshot shows the proteins unfolding in real time. The dots are the locations of PS3’s running Folding@Home at that moment. All that you PS3 owners have to do, is to click on the Folding@Home icon in the Network column of the XBR (PS3 menu) and let the program run overnight.
Link to the Folding@home site.