These are interesting times we are living in. A global pandemic has lead to most of being quarantined in our homes. Some of us are working from home, others are trying to make ends meet. These are challenging times for all of us. I wanted to take a moment and share how you can help make a difference by simply letting your home computer run a program. Below is some great information about Folding@Home from Wikipedia. In a nutshell; you can run a program on your computer that performs tasks that contribute to overall research. This system binds thousands of personal computers together to make a sort of super computer. They are researching all sorts of things including how to defeat COVID-19. If you have a computer, and can spare a bit of processing power, consider running Folding@Home on your machine!
Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics. Its initial focus was on protein folding but has shifted to more biomedical problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, COVID-19, and Ebola. The project uses the idle processing resources of personal computers owned by volunteers who have installed the software on their systems. Folding@home is currently based at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, under the directorship of Dr. Greg Bowman. The project was started by the Pande Laboratory at Stanford University, under the direction of Prof. Vijay Pande, who led the project until 2019. Since 2019, Folding@home has been led by Dr. Greg Bowman of Washington University in St. Louis, a former student of Dr. Pande.
The project has pioneered the utilization of central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), PlayStation 3s, Message Passing Interface (used for computing on multi-core processors), and some Sony Xperiasmartphones for distributed computing and scientific research. The project uses statistical simulation methodology that is a paradigm shift from traditional computing methods. As part of the client–server model network architecture, the volunteered machines each receive pieces of a simulation (work units), complete them, and return them to the project’s database servers, where the units are compiled into an overall simulation. Volunteers can track their contributions on the Folding@home website, which makes volunteers’ participation competitive and encourages long-term involvement.
Folding@home is one of the world’s fastest computing systems. With heightened interest in the project as a result of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, the system achieved a speed of approximately 768 petaFLOPS, or 1.5 x86 exaFLOPS, by March 25, 2020, making it the world’s first exaFLOP computing system. This level of performance from its large-scale computing network has allowed researchers to run computationally costly atomic-level simulations of protein folding thousands of times longer than formerly achieved. Since its launch on 1 October 2000, the Pande Lab has produced 223 scientific research papers as a direct result of Folding@home. Results from the project’s simulations agree well with experiments.
We have a Mac mini that functions as a media server. We are using it to run Folding@Home. If you have an old computer lying around you could hook it up and run this. More computing power can lead to quicker research! If you guys have any questions let us know!