Companies to 'borrow' PS3s from consumers?

Sony is in discussions with businesses about possible commercial applications for consumers’ PlayStation3 consoles.

The initiative would be similar to that of the not-for-profit Folding@Home idea. In the programme, gamers could link their idle consoles over the PlayStation Network to Stanford University, who could then harness the PS3’s power for protein cell research.

The Financial Times reports that Sony is ‘studying’ whether it needs to offers incentives to gamers, such as free products, to get them to participate in a similar scheme for profit-seeking companies.

The newspaper estimates that: ‘A network of just 10,000 PS3s would have as much power as a 200,000-strong network of personal computers.’

Chief technology officer at Sony Computer Entertainment Masa Chatani told the FT:

“This kind of computing model could be used in a commercial application. 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.

“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.”

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