Moore on Xbox 360 Folding, Hardware Failure Rates

BOOM widget 113731 Research-furthering software similar to the PlayStation's 3 Folding@home may appear on the Xbox 360, according to comments made by Microsoft corporate VP of interactive entertainment business Peter Moore. When asked about the chances of such an effort in an interview with The Mercury News, Moore appeared apprehensive, though positive, on the likelihood of such a project. "We continue to look at this and see whether there's real value," he said. "But I'm not quite sure yet whether we're seeing real tangible results from the PlayStation 3 Folding@home initiative."

As previously reported, Folding@home simulates the folding of proteins in an attempt to understand the causes and possible cures to diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Mad Cow, cystic fibrosis and numerous cancers. By dividing the workload of the many simulations across a number of workstations, the project operates at a much faster pace than if it was running on one super computer.

"Then if we truly believe that we can in some way marshall the resources of a much larger installed base of Xbox 360 owners, with a processer [sic] that's of equal power to the PS3, then you have my commitment that we'll look at that," Moore continued. "And if we believe we can add value to solving a gnarly problem such as the medical problems and the health problems that Folding@home seems to be doing, then we'll certainly look at that very strongly."

Speaking to Pro-G, Folding@home creator Vijay Pande commented that the power of the Xbox 360 hardware could be useful to the project, "although the cell processor in the PS3 is much more powerful for our calculations than the CPU in the Xbox 360." Pande then detailed that the PlayStation 3 Folding@home calculates data roughly 20 times faster than the previous PC version.

Moore was also approached on the failure rate of the Xbox 360 hardware--which many believe to be much higher than Microsoft's claims of an acceptable 3%--with the question demanding a straight answer. "I can't comment on failure rates, because it's just not something--it's a moving target," he responded. "What this consumer should worry about is the way that we've treated him."

"Y'know, things break, and if we've treated him well and fixed his problem, that's something that we're focused on right now," Moore elaborated. "I'm not going to comment on individual failure rates because I'm shipping in 36 countries and it's a complex business."