The PS3: Computing power for hire

Many in the PS3 community are familiar with the folding@home project where Stanford University has asked PS3 owners to contribute computing time from their machines in an effort to find cures for various diseases. The idea of combining the total power of tens of thousands of computers, or in this case, PS3s, in solving computation problems is called distributed computing. This equates to a massive virtual PS3 super computer. The Financial Times says that the idea of distributed computing for the PS3 may take on a commercial aspect as companies who cannot afford expensive super computing time may opt for PS3 users to help them out.

Why the PS3? The heart of the machine, the Cell processor, is so powerful that 10,000 PlayStation 3 game consoles is the equivalent of linking together 200,000 networked PCs. With the potential of millions of PS3s for hire, companies could take advantage of this raw power and put it to good use for commercial ventures. Masa Chatani, Sony’s Chief Technology Officer, said, "This kind of computing model could be used in a commercial application. For example, a start-up or a pharmaceutical company that lacks a super-computer could utilize this kind of infrastructure. We are discussing various options with companies and exploring commercial applications."

If PS3 owners enter such programs, how will they be compensated? Chatani believes that companies who "hire" PS3 machines could offer their owners various incentives such as points or free products.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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