GameSpot reporting that in excess of 30,000 PS3 owners have already joined the Stanford University-led Folding@home project, firmware update 1.6 having kick-started the new project on the 23rd of March.
Like the SETI alien-life finding project for the PC, Folding@home uses the power of the PS3's Cell CPUs to look at protein folding which has links to diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. It is hoped that an enormous distributed computing network can be built to help scientists further studies in this field, using many of the consoles and other systems together to make calculations which would normally require a super computer.
The 30,000 PS3's currently enlisted join 160,000 PCs, 13,000 Macs, 25,000 Linux machines and 800 GPUs currently involved in the project. We'll keep you posted on the PS3's expanding involvement in the project.