Folding@Home: The Future of Biological Data Processing

What is Folding@Home?

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.” As an initiative founded at Stanford University in 2000 it aims to enable citizen scientists (the users) to volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Medical data can be processed by utilising the users’ computer power and the insights are assisting scientists to better understand biology and provide new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

By downloading Folding@Home and installing this secure program, on your computer @Home you will be able to share the horsepower of your computer for the sake of medical research.  Right after you download and install the file, the setup will prompt you to start Folding@home. Upon pressing finish a web interface will automatically start. You can start folding immediately or you can select your computer to fold only when idle. You also have the option to select the level of which you want your computer to fold. You can have better control of Folding@Home application by right clicking on the app in your taskbar and selecting advance control. From there you can right click on your CPU or GPU at folding slots and pause or fold.

Video Featuring Greg Bowman, PhD, who is leading the Folding@Home project at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Why should we start Folding@Home?

By folding from home you help in finding in scientific research required for many diseases such as, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and even to some forms of cancer. Considering the current global situation and COVID-19, the Folding@Home force has been deployed on potential cure insights. With the involvement of people into Folding@home the network is now pushing out 470 PetaFlops. To break down the numbers even more, that is TWICE as fast as America’s largest even supercomputer Summit, launched by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

As per Greg Bowman’s tweet “Amazing! @foldingathome now has over 470 petaFLOPS of compute power. To put that in perspective, that’s more than 2x the peak performance of the Summit super computer!”

As a user, I have been using Folding@Home for some days now. Depending on which level I want to Fold (i.e. light, medium or full) I have the relevant impact on my computer. With light and medium Fold modes the computer can be used to work under normal conditions. When the computer is not being utilised for work or personal matters, the Full power Folding mode is enabled. I have also adjusted my fan speed when folding with my GPU to reduce the temperature of the graphics card. At the same time consider joining the LinusTechTips team where I have currently registered under project 13850 which refer to my computer power being used for Covid-19 research. 

At Techlink, the team strongly believes that the Folding@Home project is a great initiative towards research in medical science. Major technology companies across the globe are leading the way for global collaboration by joining forces and Folding, which enables analysis and discovery of solutions in medical science.