Sony Removes [email protected] From PlayStation 3

Timothy Chang

painkillers and whiskey
Jun 5, 2012
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Sony Removes [email protected] From PlayStation 3



The PlayStation 3 withdraws from Stanford's distributed computing project after 100 million hours worth of protein folding.

[email protected] is a distributed computing project that lets you dedicate your idle processor cycles to fold protein structures, which provides useful data to researchers of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and various forms of cancer. The PlayStation 3 was used as a platform to contribute to the research [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/81198-Folding-home-Claims-Over-1-Million-PlayStation-3-Users ], but a firmware update at the end of this month will remove the [email protected] client from all of Sony's systems, and users will no longer be able to crunch numbers for the project.

The 4.30 firmware update will remove the Life with PlayStation section from the dashboard, which houses the [email protected] client. Sony hasn't offered any explanation as to why it has chosen to remove the client, which has been present on PS3s since March 2007. More than 15 million users have contributed over 100 million hours of calculations for the project.

Vijay Pande, the research lead for [email protected] at Stanford University, said that the system was a "game changer" for the project in terms of using new methods and processors to perform calculations.

"We have had numerous successes in recent years," he says. "Specifically, in a paper just published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, we report on tests of predictions from earlier [email protected] simulations, and how these predictions have led to a new strategy to fight Alzheimer's disease."

Pande first considered the console as a viable means of distributed computing when it was released. He noted that the PlayStation 3's Cell processor provided a speed increase of 20 times more than PCs [http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Press#ntoc21] at the time. Its considerable processing power allowed researchers to run simulations that would have normally been considered impractical.

The project's next steps at Stanford are to develop a lead compound into a viable drug for Alzheimer's. "It's too early to report on our preliminary results there, but I'm very excited that the directions set out in this paper do appear to be bearing fruit in terms of a viable drug (not just a drug candidate)."


Source: PlayStation Blog [http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2012/10/22/ps3-system-software-update-v4-30-view-ps-vita-trophies-on-your-ps3/]

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zidine100

New member
Mar 19, 2009
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oh hai there sony, watcha blockin today guyz?


Hackers? cheaters? people looking to save people from Alzheimer's disease?

grammar intentional.
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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Sony, why?
Doesn't cost you anything, does it?


Also:
There's a REALLY REALLY horrible joke I could make...but I forgot what it was.
 

Kahani

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May 25, 2011
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Well that sucks. A PS3 can't touch a modern PC for folding (I think a PS3 will get around 1000 points per day, while my two year old PC can manage over 50,000), but every little helps. And 15 million littles is quite a big help. Wonder why they're getting rid of it.
 

Evil Smurf

Admin of Catoholics Anonymous
Nov 11, 2011
11,597
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So....this was helping old people and you cut it.....Geez you are not some stupid politicion Sony.

Why don't people have hearts anymore?
 

-Dragmire-

King over my mind
Mar 29, 2011
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I'm picturing a Sony PR guy weeping into his keyboard saying something like, "I can't take this anymore!" while the guys upstairs are saying, "Let's do what we always do, point the barrel at our toes and pull the trigger.".

There's got to be a reason for this, I just can't think of a reasonable one.
 

Mistermixmaster

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Aug 4, 2009
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That's a shame, I just heard about this folding thing for the first time yesterday, and now it's going away? =/

Kahani said:
A PS3 can't touch a modern PC for folding (I think a PS3 will get around 1000 points per day, while my two year old PC can manage over 50,000)
What? I'm just gonna quote this link [http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Press#ntoc21] that was in this article here. "There are several aspects which makes the PS3 well suited for this task. First, its main processor - the Cell Processor - is very powerful. In fact, we get a 20x speed increase over PC's. That's not 20%, but 20x, i.e. a 2,000% increase over a typical PC."

Either your 'old' PC is a processing-monster, or the site lies about the PS3 processor. I dunno.
 

bliebblob

Plushy wrangler, die-curious
Sep 9, 2009
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Hmm there has to be a good reason for this...

Either way they could always try moving the project to pc's. If they adapt it to also act as a continuous performance check, both parties get something out of it.
 

Griffolion

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Aug 18, 2009
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Mistermixmaster said:
That's a shame, I just heard about this folding thing for the first time yesterday, and now it's going away? =/

Kahani said:
A PS3 can't touch a modern PC for folding (I think a PS3 will get around 1000 points per day, while my two year old PC can manage over 50,000)
What? I'm just gonna quote this link [http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Press#ntoc21] that was in this article here. "There are several aspects which makes the PS3 well suited for this task. First, its main processor - the Cell Processor - is very powerful. In fact, we get a 20x speed increase over PC's. That's not 20%, but 20x, i.e. a 2,000% increase over a typical PC."

Either your 'old' PC is a processing-monster, or the site lies about the PS3 processor. I dunno.
He is talking about the GPU accelerated client that can be used on PC's. It uses the massively parallel capabilities of GPU processors to get some crazy PPD (points per day). There are entire sites and sections of magazines dedicated to looking at which GPU will give you the most PPD for power efficiency etc. A person serious about folding will get three or four of these in one PC and just have them running 24/7. The PS3 merely makes use of it's processor, which, while powerful, can't come close to touching a GPU accelerated setup.
 

Timothy Chang

painkillers and whiskey
Jun 5, 2012
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bliebblob said:
Hmm there has to be a good reason for this...
Yeah, it's the same reason the Jews always have an empty place at the table during Passover.

No Prophet
 

Mistermixmaster

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Aug 4, 2009
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Griffolion said:
Mistermixmaster said:
Kahani said:
A PS3 can't touch a modern PC for folding (I think a PS3 will get around 1000 points per day, while my two year old PC can manage over 50,000)
What? I'm just gonna quote this link [http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Press#ntoc21] that was in this article here. "There are several aspects which makes the PS3 well suited for this task. First, its main processor - the Cell Processor - is very powerful. In fact, we get a 20x speed increase over PC's. That's not 20%, but 20x, i.e. a 2,000% increase over a typical PC."

Either your 'old' PC is a processing-monster, or the site lies about the PS3 processor. I dunno.
He is talking about the GPU accelerated client that can be used on PC's. It uses the massively parallel capabilities of GPU processors to get some crazy PPD (points per day). There are entire sites and sections of magazines dedicated to looking at which GPU will give you the most PPD for power efficiency etc. A person serious about folding will get three or four of these in one PC and just have them running 24/7. The PS3 merely makes use of it's processor, which, while powerful, can't come close to touching a GPU accelerated setup.
Ah, that makes more sense. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
 

Wertornion

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Aug 29, 2010
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This is the first time I hear this. It's to bad they are going to remove this. I think it was a great way to get people that are normally less involved/interested in scientific research give a way to get the interest and directly see how they're helping.
 

surg3n

New member
May 16, 2011
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Sony and Microsoft, seem to not want us to buy the PS4 or 720. I'm seriously getting tired of their faffing about with dashboards, faffing about with legalities and features that we daren't even get used to, because they could be gone with the next update. I always thought this was a pretty cool feature of the PS3, now the PS3 is decidedly less cool these days, Sony aren't even concerned about it, and I for one have no interest in encouraging such a company.

I think, I'll get a WiiU and upgrade my PC instead bothering with the next gen consoles, at least for the time being. Really I'm not bothered, I'll wait until there's a game on either of them that I really really want - frankly they shouldn't hold their breath for my hard earned cash, not when every dashboard update is like a trip to the dentist.
 

Timothy Chang

painkillers and whiskey
Jun 5, 2012
704
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Griffolion said:
Mistermixmaster said:
That's a shame, I just heard about this folding thing for the first time yesterday, and now it's going away? =/

Kahani said:
A PS3 can't touch a modern PC for folding (I think a PS3 will get around 1000 points per day, while my two year old PC can manage over 50,000)
What? I'm just gonna quote this link [http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Press#ntoc21] that was in this article here. "There are several aspects which makes the PS3 well suited for this task. First, its main processor - the Cell Processor - is very powerful. In fact, we get a 20x speed increase over PC's. That's not 20%, but 20x, i.e. a 2,000% increase over a typical PC."

Either your 'old' PC is a processing-monster, or the site lies about the PS3 processor. I dunno.
He is talking about the GPU accelerated client that can be used on PC's. It uses the massively parallel capabilities of GPU processors to get some crazy PPD (points per day). There are entire sites and sections of magazines dedicated to looking at which GPU will give you the most PPD for power efficiency etc. A person serious about folding will get three or four of these in one PC and just have them running 24/7. The PS3 merely makes use of it's processor, which, while powerful, can't come close to touching a GPU accelerated setup.
I think that the Cell processor, despite its limitations, is still more flexible than a given GPU even with GPGPU programming techniques. It's more difficult to program for GPU streams than it is to program for a general-purpose processor, even a highly asymmetrical one.
 

Olrod

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Feb 11, 2010
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Sounds like they couldn't find a way to make money off it and so concluded it wasn't worth anything.
 

GenGenners

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Jul 25, 2012
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Geez guys, calm down.
You're all spoiling for a fight. Try reading the details before screaming about the devil.

The update removes Life With Playstation, which is primarily a combined world news/lounge app thing which is fairly useless and never gets used. [email protected] itself is a secondary client hidden away as a setting inside Life With Playstation. It used to be it's own completely separate client on the XMB until it was merged with Life With Playstation.

Stop crying about corporate evil. Sony's decision is to remove the redundant and barely used Life With Playstation. It's just a tragic chance of fate that [email protected] also happens to be located in the same place.
Separating the two clients, removing Life With Playstation, then re-doing and relauching [email protected] would probably require a few extra resources which, over half a decade after launch, probably wouldn't be worth it at this point.

Now stop pointing fingers. It's not the evil you think it is.