Sony’s next Playstation 3 update comes with [email protected], a distributed computing project started at Stanford University to speed up protein folding simulations. Remember the central dogma of molecular biology? DNA -> RNA -> Protein. Even If you have the correct amino acid sequence to make a protein at times the protein misfolds and leads to a non functional protein. This can be a problem when the non functional proteins aggregate to form a web of insoluble protein plaque in Alzheimer’s Disease. When you use [email protected] on your Playstation 3 you’re using your cell chip to run simulations for protein folding projects on Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and various forms of cancer. Besides using distributed computing [email protected] for the PS3 also has other benefits.
The PS3 client will also support some advanced visualization features. While the Cell microprocessor does most of the calculation processing of the simulation, the graphic chip of the PLAYSTATION 3 system (the RSX) displays the actual folding process in real-time using new technologies such as HDR and ISO surface rendering. It is possible to navigate the 3D space of the molecule using the interactive controller of the PS3, allowing us to look at the protein from different angles in real-time.
Kudos to Sony for using PS3’s for something other than playing games or watching Casino Royale. You can see a few pictures of [email protected] on the Playstation 3 past the break and if you’re interested in using your PC’s CPU for the greater good you can install [email protected] on your PC.