Being quarantined during these times doesn’t have to mean being unproductive. Indeed, the very existence of online classes via Zoom proves that it’s perfectly possible to continue to indulge in productive activities from the confines of your home.
However, while studying from home is great, what if you could contribute to actual scientific research from your home? Moreover, what if that research was focused on finding a cure against the very viral disease that is forcing you to stay at home in the first place? This is exactly what a global computing project is allowing you to do.
Fold@Home is a distributed computing project available online that is geared towards conducting research on COVID-19 by simulating molecular dynamics. It enables users and contributors to simulate processes like protein folding and drug design that give us a clearer insight into the nature of the disease and how to combat it. The open-source nature of this project means that anyone can contribute to the research and be a part of it.
Since Fold@Home is a distributed project, it relies on the masses for its computing power. Its team has devised the free software, and all it requires from you is to download it, turn it on, and allow it to run in the background. In fact, thanks to a huge number of downloads already, the project is doing fairly well in terms of achieving its goals.
According to computational chemist John Chodera, the Folding@Home team has been able to release the first wave of projects that simulate the deadly virus.
“After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@hometeam has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@Home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@Home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, PC gamers have made the biggest contribution to this cause so far. No strangers to computing power and how it can be so useful, NVIDIA teamed up with the PC Master Race subreddit and managed to convince a large group of gamers to donate a portion of their GPU for this global research effort.
If you are interested in contributing to the cause as well, you can download the software here. It is absolutely free, and it will help Folding@Home take one more bold step towards a possible solution for the coronavirus disease.