[email protected] is a long running project launched in 2000 by Stanford University which allows anyone with spare CPU or GPU cycles to simulate protein folding. “Fold” is the process by which proteins assemble themselves.
If scientist can better understand folding through simulations they can design better therapies and drugs for many illnesses. “Protein Folding” is the process by which a protein structure assumes its functional shape or conformation. It is the physical process by which a polypeptide folds into its characteristic and functional three-dimensional structure from random coil.
Without getting complicated, protein folding simulations require an enormous number of calculations, so many that in fact every drop of calculating power helps. With any desktop, laptop, and even some phones (Android 4.4+) can pitch in by downloading the [email protected] software and running it. “In just 5 minutes you can add your computer to over 145,000 others around the world outputting 33,000 teraflops of computing power to form the world’s largest distributed supercomputer”
The [email protected] software is extremely easy to use. Not like most complicated mining software used to mine cryptocurrencies. You will not need to know any technical specifications of your computer or tinker with intensity, frequencies, or voltages. It even has an attractive web interface so, chances are, if you made it to this article, you will have no problem getting your computer to contribute.
You can easily decide how much power you want to devote to folding. You will be able to read email, surf web pages, or balance your check book because, folding runs in the background as a low priority process however, if you are wanting to watch a movie or play a graphic intense video game on your computer, you can turn folding to low power consumption or pause it completely at any time.
Additionally, If you mine for other cryptocurrency you can still run folding simulations at the same time. The impact on a scrypt mining rig is minimal and less than a 10% reduction of hashing speed.
You can even pick which protein folding simulations your computer will run. So your computer could be specifically helping Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, or just allow [email protected] to apply your spare computing power to running simulations for the disease it sees fit.
For example, you could help find a cure for your grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease at full power while you sleep and help find a cure for cancer at low power while you do your computing tasks during the day.
The software can even operate only when your computer is idle, much like a screensaver, if you do not care to switch manually. Anyway you choose to do it, you can be helping improve lives.