Last seen by PlayStation owners on the PS3, where it was arguably mainly used as something of a cynical selling point to market its then high-powered exotic architecture, Folding@home is an initiative that has been leveraged in everywhere from small tech think-tanks all the way through to accredited research institutes and universities.
For the unfamiliar, Folding@home is an innovative distributed computing project that uses this idle processing resources of volunteer systems to simulate drug designs and protein folding. As such, Folding@home is seen as a candidate for combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in terms of researching antibodies and other treatments, and all of it with hardly any contribution or cost incurred on the part of the user other than the giving up of idle, non-active system resources on their systems.
While the actual results of Folding@home have hardly been transformative in the past, it’s worth remembering two things. Firstly, the Folding@home project has come on a long way since it featured in Sony’s PlayStation 3 console back in 2006, with the software now able to work more efficiently and faster than ever before. Secondly, the sheer amount of processing power in contemporary systems is absolutely vast compared to what was available 14 years ago, meaning that when taken in tandem, the collective quality and quantity of output is greatly improved over what we’ve seen in the past.
Sounding a rallying call of sorts for the games industry, graphics chip manufacturer Nvidia has called upon PC owners to give their idle processing power over to Folding@home in order to aid in the research of several projects that are looking to provide a breakthrough in regards to COVID-19. You can see Nvidia’s tweet on the matter below:
Well, the time is now for Sony (and by proxy Microsoft) to offer the same help. With a combined install base of close to 160 million hardware units between PS4 and Xbox One consoles (with over 100 million of those accounted for by PlayStaton hardware), not to mention the tremendous horsepower that the forthcoming next-generation consoles look set to provide, surely there is no better time for Sony and Microsoft to get stuck in and allow users to do their bit to help in combating COVID-19, which is affecting our personal lives, families, social gatherings, the economy and just about every industry you can think of.
After all, every little helps right? If you’re interested, you can check out all the great work that the Folding@home project does right here.
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