It's simply amazing - and I am thrilled!! The PlayStation 3 will literally help scientists find cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and other diseases.
The PlayStation 3 is slated for launch on November 17, 2006. This massively powerful console will support a next generation Blu-Ray HD DVD player - something that most homes don't have now - as a built in standard. But perhaps even more importantly, this internet-enabled gaming console has a very fast processor. This makes it wonderful while you're playing games - but how about when it's just sitting there idle?
This is where Folding @ Home comes in. I have belonged to this organization for many years. In essence they provide a little application that you put on our computer. When your computer is idle - perhaps when you are asleep (something that even gamers have to do sometime) - this program uses your computer to fold proteins. Folding proteins is an extremely difficult task that could literally take years to figure out. By having hundreds of thousands of PCs all around the world working on it together, scientists have been able to get an amazing amount of research done. But PCs were only the start!!
Now that PS3s are coming out, every single PS3 will be exactly the same. That is quite different from PCs, where every PC can be set up differently! This means that the programmers could write incredibly efficient code for the PS3 that worked to the very limits of the PS3's power, knowing that it would always work. With millions of PS3s about to be sold, this could literally change the face of cancer and scientific research. If every PS3 owner left their machine on while it wasn't being used for gaming, and let it fold proteins, scientists could have their answers in months - not in decades.
It doesn't cost the end user anything (perhaps besides a tiny amount of electrical current). The software is free. The internet connection is free. The PS3 is just sitting there anyway! Why not have it bring good to the world?
So if you buy a PS3 - or know someone who does - make sure you get them to download and run this software. In the meantime, make sure your PCs are running the same software, to help bring good to the world while you're away from your desk!
BellaOnline Grid.Org Research Team