Friday, December 16, 2005

Folding Is Good

So, I've jumped on the distributed-computing bandwagon by setting up a couple of Folding@Home clients.

Folding@Home is a project where scientists at Stanford University are running simulations of how proteins fold, which dictates their behavior. These simulations are geard to cover every possible fold of every possible protein, which is a lot. Each fold takes about a day to model on a Pentium 4 computer, so the group at Standford was faced with an enormous computing requirement that would be quite costly to fulfill.

Their solution was to create a distributed-computing client. Volunteers download the client and leave it running in the background of their computer. The client lists itself as ultra-low-priority, so it doesn't cause a notciable slowdown of your computer, but when you're not doing anything, it uses the unused processor time to run the simulations, and then reports the results back to the master server.

The applications of this research can be applied to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cancer (it's estimated that AT LEAST HALF of all cancers are caused by a misfolded protein). Considering that my computer at home runs idle form at least 85% of the day, I felt it would be a good thing to donate my extra processor time to a worthwhile cause.

Who says the Internet is just for porn? ;)
posted by S.C. @ 9:37 AM |


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