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Sep 19

Folding@home Petaflop Barrier Crossed

Noam Rimon's Avatar Posted by Sr. Development Manager SCEA R&D

Folding@home Update
The momentum and excitement for the Folding@home project continues. This time it’s something that the Folding community and the computer science field as a whole have been anxiously awaiting — the crossing of a milestone known as a petaflop.

A petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second (FLOPS). If you’d like to imagine this enormous computation capacity, think about calculating a tip on a restaurant bill, now do that for 75,000 different bills, now do that every second, and lastly, imagine everybody on the planet is doing those calculations at the same second- this is a petaflop calculation. Now you see why I say say enormous…

So how did we get to a petaflop and what caused it to happen now? There are a few factors that together increased the total computational power of the Folding@home network. First, is the increased participation from the Folding community. Just six months after we launched the program, nearly 600,000 PS3 users have registered. Second, we made several improvements to the application (v 1.2) that helped make the computations more accurate and enabled us to squeeze even more work out of each and every PS3 console — we went from 450 teraflops to 800 teraflops. These factors, combined with the contribution from all the other platforms, helped us cross the barrier, which happened sometime over the weekend.

What does this mean to the computer science field? The petaflop by itself is just a number, but in the past was only thought of as something that could be done on a supercomputer or other dedicated hardware which cost millions and millions of dollars. Now we’ve shown that a distributed network featuring a videogame console can reach the same capacity as a supercomputer. On a different level we see a huge contribution to the specific research that Folding@home is conducting, which is understanding the cause of serious diseases. Just think about how long it would take if such a network of computers didn’t exist! According to Stanford, the Folding@home network is helping them conduct research that typically would not have been possible for another 10 years.

What’s next? 2 petaflops? Maybe. Researchers at Stanford are saying that the accuracy can be increased even further to crank even more work out of each PS3. For now, I just feel proud that PS3 owners are making such a great contribution to the network and allowing it to sustain such capacity, it makes all our efforts worthwhile.

Here is a snapshot of statistics as reported from Stanford’s website at the time of this post:


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Herby said:

September 20th, 1:43 pm

Congrats to all those that participate. Let’s keep on kickin’ some butt. I predict in the next year we will hit 2 petaflops baby.
Join Official Playstation Forums Team #55265.

MrCamo said:

September 20th, 3:20 pm

MY Microsoft loving co-workers are open jawed looking at this post…… Obviosly a cool feature even if it is BORING :)

Noam Rimon's Avatar

Noam Rimon said:

September 20th, 3:29 pm

To answer some of the relevant questions people have brought up, regarding project results: because of PS3 and the increased speed of the F@h network, research that would have taken Stanford University a year to evaluate can now be done in a matter of days. The results that have been tabulated by PS3’s around the world and then sent back to Stanford University simulate real-life experiments that cannot be easily performed experimentally. Stanford University is currently analyzing the data that they have and there definitely appears to be some interesting results. They expect to submit a paper for peer review in the next couple weeks. Once the paper is back from peer review, Stanford University scientists will then be able to talk specifically about the results they’ve been able to achieve. In the meantime, You can learn more about the F@h advancements by visiting the F@h blog written by Stanford scientists:

[…] Source: PlayStation.Blog […]

40cal said:

September 20th, 3:31 pm

@Noam Rimon

Thanks for the info bro :)

Fox_Savage said:

September 20th, 4:04 pm

@ (Laughed)
I think F@H is great. And What do you care!?!?!?!?! You dont have to run the Folding@Home program if you dont want to!!! But you obviousley cant play games all the time, and you have to sleep, so before you go to sleep you can just start the F@H program and let it do its work while you sleep in your cozy little-boy PJ’s with the pink flowers on them. Oh, and dont be scared to leave your PS3 on all night, itll be fine, thats what its made for. And if you dont believe me go ask sony. I will give you the credit for being right on something, that is, it would be nice if we got rewarded for contributing to this cause. I mean, we’ve reached a Peta-flop!!!! Can’t we get something? Hey hers an idea, for every 250 work units we get like $4.00 added to our account that we can use on the Playstation Store.”To: Sony” That would be a perfect incentive for all of these haters/sceptics.

Darkdrium777 said:

September 20th, 4:52 pm

Thanks for the info Noam. I hope that they indeed find something promising in the results they have accumulated.
I will keep on folding on my Q6600 and my PS3. :) Got to find a way to make Folding@Home run fully on all the cores, because right now it is using the Q6600 at 25% (The equivalent of one core, even though it is spread across all four)

Phospho said:

September 21st, 11:38 am

Noam Ramon, have there been any breakthroughs with the medical research yet with all the folding being done? For all I know the only flop I care about is my pocketbook being emptied from paying my electricity bill. Maybe if there could be some kind of insentive like a tax ride off, I would contribute more to the cause, but as for right now, I dont see the purpose anymore. Tell Stanford if they want my PS3’s power, to research how to save my money in the same process. Thanks.

orbio234 said:

September 21st, 4:39 pm

on the folding home post fellow gamer #111 want to say bravo in such a small comment you have said it all…really like your id…we need more people like you on the post who are real and serious about your ps3..we do not need some ranting on and on about our decision to BUY the ULTIMATE …THE PS3

orbio234 said:

September 21st, 9:42 pm

wow someone actually reached 3oo units…now thats dedication…i am at 33. flow game relaxed me time for lights out and put my folding home on for the night. i have experienced sony reliabilty on so many of their products that for 33 all nighters i have trusted my PS3 to operate safely and it has not let me down. thats why its worth the extra dollars for the best…goodnight and good gaming

orbio234 said:

September 23rd, 10:02 am

sony why do you allow such comments as #104 and i quote …i hope you all die of cancer…shame on you for allowing this to go on

orbio234 said:

September 23rd, 5:43 pm

resident evil made 24 million in north america this weekend. milla please return for resident 4. after completion this morning i have reached 35 units. there is no way i will reach the 300 units that one blogger achieved. but the way i see it it is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.

orbio234 said:

September 23rd, 5:44 pm

. after completion this morning i have reached 35 units. there is no way i will reach the 300 units that one blogger achieved. but the way i see it it is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.

[…] Superada la barrera del petaflop en… por Croc hace pocos segundos […]

orbio234 said:

September 24th, 12:51 pm

just got home…turned off my ps3 as i just completed my 37th sister who just passed away from cancer will be happy to know i am doing this. i am a cancer surivor.

scott said:

September 25th, 7:32 am

sony …. do u guys no if the folding is really helping?

eclipsed4utoo said:

September 25th, 7:38 am


what do you mean if it’s really helping? anything is better than nothing.

we may never find a cure for some of these diseases. However, I do know one thing for a fact. We will never find cures if we don’t try. Atleast we do have a chance.

eclipsed4utoo said:

September 25th, 7:40 am

if you want to see results, then try this link

PlayStation 3 Hits New Folding Landmark said:

September 26th, 9:04 am

[…] week ago, the Folding@home project hit a milestone when it crossed the petaflop mark. That was a truly impressive accomplishment in its own right, and is certainly one people can be […]

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