Sony eyes the super computing power of distributed PS3s
High numbers of PS3 owners signing up their consoles to a distributed computing model focussed on protein research has led numerous companies to approach Sony to expand the service on a commercial basis, according to reports.
Last month, PS3 owners were able to sign up to Stanford University’s [email protected] project, which uses the idle cycles of processing power to create a supercomputer powerful enough to chew through the most complex mathematical functions.
Sony’s CTO Masa Chatani told the FT that at any given moment there are between 11,000 and 12,000 machines participating in the project. With the power of the Cell chip beating at the heart of the PS3, it is claimed that 10,000 PS3s match the processing power of 200,000 PCs with. It is little wonder, therefore, that the games machines are getting noticed by industries with expensive number crunching outlays.
‘A start-up or a pharmaceutical company that lacks a super computer could utilise this kind of infrastructure. We are discussing various options with companies and exploring commercial applications,’ Chatani told the FT.
Should Sony go down this path, it would have to devise a system to encourage owners to let companies utilise their spare processing power for commercial gain beyond sheer altruism.
Possibilities described by Chatani included free products for participants, or a points system where participants can build up points as they dedicate their consoles to the projects that can be redeemed at a later date.