YOUR computer can fight COVID-19! 1

Folding@Home simultaneously running two Work Units — one on the CPU and another on the GPU (graphics card). Please consider having your computer donate its “off time” to the cause!

Put your unused computing power to work in helping to fight the battle against the COVID-19 Coronavirus!  

Perhaps you remember the SETI-at-home project from years back that allowed members of the public to dedicate unused processing power from their computers to help UC Berkeley churn through massive amounts of data from outer space in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence? 

The same kind of opportunity now exists for your computer to help simulate protein folding for researchers who are working to find treatments for cancers and other critical afflictions. For the past 16 days, a small group of Ontario educators have turned their computers toward supporting the process to understand and combat the terrible COVID-19 virus.  Kudos to Jim Pedrech (@jpedrech) and Tim King (@tk1ng) for getting us started. 

We invite you to join us!

You can easily download the necessary software (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and get your computer up and “folding” in minutes!  Enter team ID 239360 to have your Work Units (WU) recognized as part of team the OntarioEducatorsUnited contribution.  So far we have completed over 200 Work Units. 

Folding refers to the way human protein folds in the cells that make up your body. We rely on the proteins to keep us healthy and they assemble themselves by folding. But when they misfold, there can be serious consequences to a person’s health.

While your computer “folds” the protein pairs, you can see a visualizations of the kinds of things your computer is working on.  

Visualization of Work Unit underway by Alanna King (@banana29)

Work Units are allocated by the software to your CPU, and in some cases they may be appropriate so as to be sent to a GPU. If you or your child has a gaming computer with a dedicated graphics card, maybe it can be put to use during its daily downtime? (Gamers have to sleep sometime, SHOULDN’T THEY?).

I want to do this! Exactly what do I do?

1. Download and install the software for your computer. Once installed, it runs on its own in the background. You can get the nice web interface (shown in the GIF at the top of this post) by connecting to once the software is running on your computer.

2. You can configure your client from either the Web Control or from within the actual FAHControl. Please contribute to Team 239360. If you include your name in the donor field, you will be listed on our team page as something other than Anonymous (Note: Don’t use your twitter handle with the @ symbol — it will be rejected and your contributions will show as unattributed on the team list — personal experience!)

3. You can stop the process at any time with the pause or finish button in the FAHcontrol or with the Stop Folding button in the Web Control.   You can also determine how much of your computer’s unused thinking cycles will be devoted to folding by adjusting the Folding Power, again in either the FAHcontrol or the Web Control. Both interfaces provide an easy slider to let you give the application as little or as much thinking power as you wish.

While we can all hope that researchers and scientists will get a handle on the COVID-19 virus sooner rather than later — if you can put some computer thinking time towards the project (especially while you yourself are sleeping) — please do. Your computer — and you — can fight COVID-19!

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