Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Folding@home Capacity Doubled By PS3.

Extra computing power from idle PS3s has helped the capacity of Stanford University's Folding@home project double in the last month.

The project, which aims to further the understanding of how proteins fold in order to limit the development of a number of diseases, was given a boost by the dramatically improved processing power acquired following a system software update made available to PS3 owners last month.

Mass uptake of an application within the update has enabled researchers to utilize the processing power of hundreds of thousands of dormant PlayStation 3 consoles.

"The PS3 turnout has been amazing, greatly exceeding our expectations and allowing us to push our work dramatically forward," said Vijay Pande, associate professor of chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home program lead.

"Thanks to PS3, we have performed simulations in the first few weeks that would normally take us more than a year to calculate. We are now gearing up for new simulations that will continue our current studies of Alzheimer’s and other diseases," he added.

Masayuki Chatani, corporate executive and chief technology officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, praised the efforts made by PS3 users to supprt the project.

"We continue to be thrilled with the ongoing contributions of the PS3 user community in helping the Folding@home program study the causes of many different diseases that afflict our society," he said.

"As we move forward, we are issuing a call to action for all PS3 owners around the world to download the Folding@home application and help this cause. These PS3 fans can also be part of history as the Folding@home distributed computing program inches closer to achieving a petaflop – a measure of computing power that has never before been reached".

Sony has stated that it is aiming to support similar distributed computing projects across various academic fields but has also revealed that it is considering using the distributed model for commercial applications.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sony Profit To Rise 'Sixfold'.

Shares in Sony climbed to a five-year high on Friday after a newspaper predicted a sixfold increase in its profits for the current year.

Strong sales of the Playstation 3 could push Sony's pre-tax income to 400bn yen ($3.4bn; £1.7bn), a sharp increase on the 60bn yen expected for 2006.

Launching the next-generation console is expected to put a 200bn yen hole in Sony's finances.

Sony closed the session up 2.7% at 6,510 yen.


The world's second-largest electronics maker will also benefit from increased demand in its liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions in the US and European markets, according to the Nikkei business daily.

Analysts cited in the newspaper expected group sales in the year 2007-2008 would be up 6% to 8.7 trillion yen, boosted by a two-thirds increase in sales of LCD TVs to 10 million in 2007-2008.
A 67% rise in PS3 shipments to 10 million units, better semi-conductor production yields and cost-cutting should also boost the business, according to the newspaper.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Euro Charts: Resistance Holds Top Spot.

First-party PS3 titles dominate Italian and Spanish top ten

PlayStation 3 shooter Resistance: Fall of Man continues to prove popular in the European charts, while Sony's other first-party launch titles are also performing strongly on the continent.

Insomniac's first-person shooter tops the charts for the week ending April 1 in Italy and Spain, while Evolution's MotorStorm and SCEE Liverpool's Formula One Championship Edition both continue to sit in the top ten.

Sega's Virtua Tennis 3 is another strong title on next-gen systems while Atari's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 proves there's plenty of life left in the more established last-gen consoles.

THQ's S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl is dominating the German charts for the week ended March 25, with the normal edition at number one and the Limited Edition sku at number three.

The top ten best-selling games for Italy, Spain and Germany follow:

Italy, week ended April 1

1. Resistance: Fall of Man
2. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
3. MotorStorm
4. Formula One Championship Edition
5. Final Fantasy XII
6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
7. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
8. Virtua Tennis 3
9. Ridge Racer 7
10. Pro Evolution Soccer 6

Spain, week ended April 1

1. Resistance: Fall of Man
2. Dr Kawashima's Brain Training
3. Formula One Championship Edition
4. Virtua Tennis 3
5. MotorStorm
6. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
7. Spectrobes
8. Animal Crossing: Wild World
9. Call of Duty 3
10. Final Fantasy XII

Germany, week ended March 25

1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl
2. Resistance: Fall of Man
3. MotorStorm
4. S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl Limited Edition
5. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
6. Formula One Championship Edition
7. Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific
8. Final Fantasy XII
9. The Sims 2: Seasons
10. Virtua Tennis 3

All charts supplied by Media Control GfK International.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sony In Talks On Commercial Use For PS3.

Sony PlayStation 3 users may soon be asked to share the supercomputer power of their video game consoles with companies that lack their own technology to run complex research projects, the Financial Times was told.

Sony Computer Entertainment is in discussions with a number of companies about possible commercial applications for the PlayStation 3. This comes in the wake of its non-profit partnership with Stanford University in March that harnesses the spare computing capacity of registered PS3s for the analysis of protein cells.

However, because this would be a commercial proposition that would benefit profit-making organisations, Sony is studying whether it would need to offer incentives, such as free products, to persuade PS3 owners to participate.

PS3s run on the revolutionary Cell processor – co-designed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba – and they can be linked with tens of thousands of other idle PS3s via the internet to run a single analytical programme. A network of just 10,000 PS3s would have as much power as a 200,000-strong network of personal computers.

Masa Chatani, chief technology officer at Sony Computer Entertainment, said in an interview with the FT on Tuesday that the company had received numerous inquiries regarding this "distributed computing" model.

Under Stanford University’s Folding@Home programme, which studies how protein cells assemble, PS3 users can join the network by clicking on an icon on the screen. Stanford automatically sends packets of data out to these machines – which have to remain switched on when they are idle – to analyse and collect, tabulate and visualise the results.

"This kind of computing model could be used in a commercial application," Mr Chatani said. "For example, 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".

He added: "If there is a big problem to be solved, each computer is responsible for processing a small chunk of information, then by analysing it all together a big conclusion can be made. At any single moment, there are 11,000-12,000 PS3 users participating in Folding@Home. The number of contributors is far greater than we had anticipated".

A commercial endeavour would be a more difficult strategically, Mr Chatani admitted, because users would be loathe to let companies use the power of their PS3 Cell processors for free.

One scenario, he said, would be for a company to offer each of its PS3 users incentives such as free products, or points, in exchange for their participation in distributed computing.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Evolution Scores European No. 1 With Motorstorm.

After taking pole position in US and Japan

Having already achieved number one positions in the US and Japanese software sales charts, Playstation 3 exclusive Motorstorm has also secured the top spot in Europe.

Developed by Runcorn-based Evolution Studios, Motorstorm was launched alongside Sony's new console in all three territories. Although it was beaten to pole position in the UK by fellow first-party title Resistance: Fall of Man, the game has scored a number one across Europe overall - just as it went straight to the top when PS3 launched in Japan and North America.

"To see Motorstorm top the European, the Japanese and the US Playstation 3 charts is just fantastic," said Evolution boss Martin Kenwright.

"Developing Motorstorm to a standard we were all happy with was certainly a challenge - but the team here really delivered. Evolution has a reputation for delivering high quality racing titles, but the consensus was to come up with something really special for Sony’s new hardware.

"We’re delighted that the public has agreed with the press and made Motorstorm a worldwide number one Playstation 3".