Utilizing untapped computing power to help the fight against diseases has been a longstanding tradition for PC gamers, but now there’s another threat to take down: coronavirus. A thread on Reddit is urging gamers to offer up their unused PC power in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donate unused PC power to fight coronavirus
The Reddit thread in question, posted by pedro19, calls on PC users to download folding@home. This program runs in the background while you work – or while you sleep – and actively helps sift through information by simulating “protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics.”
In order to join the fight, simply download the Folding@home installer from the site. Once downloaded and installed, a site will open in your internet browser, welcoming you to the program. From here, you can assist anonymously or set up an identity. Setting up an identity allows you to join a team and get a passkey to keep your account secure.
The folding process will continue even if you close the internet window. The actual program can be found in the toolbar. The webpage is just an easy-to-read UI where you can track your progress.
At the moment, there is no specific drop-down box selection for coronavirus. The proteins and such you’ll be helping analyse are grouped under the “Any disease” section.
There is a wealth of information to be found on the FoldingAtHome.org site, including a snippet on what the project has managed to complete so far:
We have been able to fold several proteins into the 1.5 millisecond time range with experimental validation of our folding kinetics. This is a timescale a thousand times longer than any previous atomic-level simulation, and represents a fundamental advance over previous work. We are now simulating important proteins used in structural biology studies of folding as well as proteins involved in disease. We’ve been able to perform detailed simulations of many of these proteins at biologically-relevant timescales, giving us insights that had previously been unobtainable. We’ve also identified several potential drug candidates which may be able to fight Alzheimer’s, cancer, and infection by viruses. Peer-reviewed scientific papers detailing our results are posted on our Results page, and many of them are published in top journals such as Science, Nature, PNAS, and JMB. These publications are highly detailed and often technical, but summaries of their findings can be found on Results page as well as the Folding@home article on Wikipedia.
Featured image original artwork credit: MorkarDFC
The Folding@Home program is a fantastic way for PC gamers – and even those with laptops – to offer up unused PC power to the scientists fighting coronavirus. It may seem like a small action, but many small actions can have profoundly positive results.