Life with PlayStation 3, Folding@Home to close this month

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 22 October 2012 05:33 GMT

As of next month, PlayStation 3 users will no longer be able to donate their console’s idle time to Stanford University’s distributed computing program.

According to the PS Blog, Sony expects to have shut down the Life with PlayStation application by the beginning of November.

As of firmware update 4.30, which is due on Thursday, the application will no longer accept new sign ups.

The service, which launched in 2007, allowed PlayStation 3 owners to involve their consoles in a major project to understand protein folding, which is aimed at discovering the causes of and ultimately finding cures for diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s.

During its lifespan, 15 million PS3 users donated their CPU cycles to the project, adding up to 100 million computation hours, assisting with Alzheimer’s research in particular

“The PS3 system was a game changer for Folding@Home, as it opened the door for new methods and new processors, eventually also leading to the use of GPUs,” Vijay Pande, Folding@Home research lead at Stanford University said,

“We have had numerous successes in recent years. Specifically, in a paper just published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, we report on tests of predictions from earlier Folding@Home simulations, and how these predictions have led to a new strategy to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

“The next steps, now underway at Stanford, are to take this lead compound and help push it towards a viable drug. 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).”

Well done to everyone who folded a protein or two (or several hundred) for this worthy cause.

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