Folding @ Home will leverage your unused PC resources to battle the Coronavirus.
By Charles Levere, on March 20, 2020
Got a gaming rig, home work station or battle station and are looking for a way to pitch in and help fight COVID-19? Take a look at Folding @ Home and see if its a good fit for you.
I have seen people on places like reddit talking about Folding @ Home over the years. I remember checking it out way back in 2014-ish but that was as far as I went back then.
Now with everything that’s going on right now I decided to download it again and see if its something I would feel comfortable with running on my PC. After the initial setup of choosing a name and joining a team. I joined the Hardware Canucks team but joining a team isn’t necessary. There wasn’t much more to do, it just does its thing in the background.
The software is extremely well optimized. They really put some effort into making it so you don’t feel like you need to turn it off while using your PC. Its been running all week in the background while I have been working and surfing the web. If it wasn’t for my fans running at near full blast I wouldn’t know it was active. There is also a while working or while away setting option to choose from. I left it on while working and never noticed any slow downs.
Speaking of fans running at full blast, if you decide to run Folding @ Home on your PC, make sure it has adequate cooling. It is extremely taxing on your hardware. If you take a look at the picture below you will notice that there is a slider to adjust how much resources you would like to donate. The slider has a light, medium and full option. The light setting will just use your CPU and not your GPU, at about 40%. The medium setting runs your CPU at about 75% and uses your GPU. The full setting uses close to 100% of available resources.
In my experience with Folding @ Home over the week, even the medium setting seems to use closer to 90% of my CPU resources and full GPU. With it being so optimized I wouldn’t have even noticed if not for the fans. My CPU hovers in the high 70’s low 80’s while on the medium setting. So again if you do want to run it make sure your cooling is sufficient.
I am willing to deal with my PC being more audible than usual to feel as though I am in some way doing a small part to help out.
Folding @ Home And COVID-19
Download Folding @ Home: https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/
Proteins are molecular machines that perform many functions we associate with life. They sense the environment (e.g. in taste and smell), perform work (e.g. muscle contraction and breaking down food), and play structural roles (e.g. your hair). They are made of a linear chain of chemicals called amino acids that, in many cases, spontaneously “fold” into compact, functional structures. Much like any other machine, it’s how a protein’s components are arranged and move that determine the protein’s function. In this case, the components are atoms.
Viruses also have proteins that they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves.
To help tackle coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapeutics to stop them.
Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data are helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.