A new software update for Sony's PlayStation 3 will signal the end of the system's support for Folding@Home, the distributed protein-folding project led by Vijay Pande's group at Stanford.
According to a Sony blog post, the 4.30 update for PS3, scheduled for rollout in November, will not offer the Life with PlayStation application that included the Folding@Home client.
Sony says that more than 15 million users have participated in the PS3 Folding@Home program since it started in 2007 and that PS3 users have donated than 100 million computation hours to the effort.
"Considering the contribution PS3 has made to the project, we decided the termination as a result of discussions with Stanford University," Sony says.
In a statement provided to Sony, Pande calls the PS3 partnership "a game changer for Folding@Home, as it opened the door for new methods and new processors, eventually also leading to the use of GPUs."
He cites a recent paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry describing how Folding@Home simulations led to the development of a peptide with the potential to fight Alzheimer's disease and says that "the next steps, now underway at Stanford, are to take this lead compound and help push it towards a viable drug."
The Folding@Home client is still available for use with PCs through the Stanford website.