Life with Playstation — a new update to the FAH/PS3 client

In partnership with Sony, we've rolled out a new update to the Folding@home client for the PS3, now built into their "Life With Playstation" (LWP) application.  They've done a great job of building a beautiful piece of software.  Folding@home is running underneath in the background.  Noam Rimon, the lead developer on the Sony side put it well in an earlier blog post as well as a more recent post on the PS3 blog

We’re going to offer this as a free service that will be easily accessible directly from the XMB. Life with PlayStation will feed live content to your PS3 with updates on news and weather on a visually stunning and interactive global map. Imagine being able to wake up to your PS3 to see if you need to pack an umbrella for the day. Or just relax as you listen to your favorite tunes while reading up on top news from around the world.

We've also updated the science code to do the same functionality of what the GPU2 code can do today.  However, people will notice that the ns/day will go significantly down.  We want to stress that the points per day remains the same.  This means that one gets more points/ns since the calculation is more complex, so don't worry too much if your ns/day is lower.  LWP takes up a little extra compute time from the science, but not much.  Most of the decrease in ns/day is due to the fact that it's doing a much more complex calculation (which is good for the science side of this).

There's also a nice Video demo done by Noam Rimon showing the functionality of LWP:


We'll give further updates about this as time goes on, but we're excited to have the new science functionality in and to have a client which hopefully can even further broaden the participation of PS3 owners in Folding@home.

PS Some people have noticed that LWP seems slower.  In particular, the ns/day count is down, but that's not what it might seem. We're doing more complex science which runs slower on the PS3, so that's responsible for most of the slow down you're seeing.

For those who are interested, it's slower because we're running a more complex version of the GB implicit solvent, which is much more computationally demanding; the upside is that this would be much more accurate. This is also the main solvent model we're running on GPU2 right now. In fact, earlier PS3 results pointed us to the significance and importance of moving to this new model, so this (and GPU2) reflects what we've learned so far.
However, there is a small performance hit due to all the other life with Playstation (LWP) eye candy. However, it's not very big in the end (the Cell and RSX GPU are very powerful), with most of the slow down in terms of ns/day coming from the new science code. The upshot of the LWP platform will hopefully be getting a lot more PS3 donors (but I guess time will tell there).  

So far, the response will be strong and I expect that this could in time double the FLOP count from PS3 donors in Folding@home, which itself will be pretty impressive. More importantly, with the advanced science now rolled out on both the PS3 and GPU2 platforms, we're well-poised to tackle some much more complex and interesting calculations.