Folding@Home is a research program that uses spare computer power to process protein simulations to help researchers better understand COVID-19 and develop therapies for it.
Simulating the folding of proteins is a method of understanding diseases that result from protein misfolding and aggregation. It’s also useful in the development of new drugs in general. The process is enormously heavy in computer cycles and so Stanford University created Folding@Home as a way of harnessing computers over the internet as like an interconnected super-computer. And so we have hundreds of thousands of computers contributing to the task of running these simulations.
The focus of Folding@Home has been on cancer, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntingdon’s and Parkinson’s and infectious diseases such as Ebola, but now they’ve announced that they are able to turn their attention to COVID-19.
After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@home team has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes.
All the data generated is shared with multiple laboratories around the world through the concept of Open Science.
The units being worked that are specific to Coronavirus can only currently be run on your the GPU on your graphics card but they will be making it available for CPU processing soon. The best setting is to select “Any disease” which means your system will be available to be used when more units become available. And in the meantime your CPU will be happily working on other diseases.
Musicians and producers are ideal candidates for this because we tend to have powerful computers. And we also tend to work outside the box more often these days and our systems can sit there idle for long periods of time.
So, what do you do?
To throw your computer into the fight simply download the Folding@Home client software and run it. When your computer is on it will churn away at the project and contribute to the process of understanding this disease. You can set it to run in the background while you’re doing other things or you can turn it off when you need your DAWs full attention.
It’s stupidly easy and we should all absolutely be doing this on every spare computer.
I found this to be a useful video:
- Folding@Home: Folding@Home