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PS3 Folding@home app soon

In firmware due this month.

Sony has announced that PlayStation 3's next firmware update will arrive at the end of March - and one of the key additions will be integration with Stanford University's Folding@home programme.

First announced last summer, the Folding@home PS3 application will be accessible from the CrossMediaBar (XMB), allowing you to join the race to understand protein folding, misfolding and related diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cystic fibrosis and various cancers.

It will also be possible to set the Folding application to run automatically when the system is idle.

Sony's decision to support distributed computing projects like Folding@home, which shares the burden of simulating complex protein folding across many thousands of computers, isn't entirely motivated by goodwill, mind you - it also happens to be a good way of promoting the console's CELL processor, as Sony's Masayuki Chatani hastened to note.

"In order to study protein folding, researchers need more than just one super computer, but the massive processing power of thousands of networked computers. Previously, PCs have been the only option for scientists," he explained, "but now, they have a new, more powerful tool - PS3."

Sony says it will continue to support distributed computing projects, although rumours that a Monkey Shakespeare Simulator app is round the corner are made up.

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Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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