Posted by: power09er | October 7, 2009

Travis Joins Team in Folding @ Home Effort

Folding @ home is a distributed computing effort started by Stanford in 2000. Its goal is to be able to simulate protein folding in order to study it and its relationship with Cancer, Alzheimers and various other diseases. Protein is composed of chains of amino acids, that build into strands and then fold. Its a very complex structure that occurs in our bodies…I read the Stanford site and will admit that I don’t really understand it much at all. When proteins mis-fold, they can lead to diseases. Stanford is studying protein folding in hopes that it will help them unlock the keys to curing some of these diseases.

Anyways, the point is, that what our body does in a matter of nanoseconds cannot be simulated by a computer very quickly at all. The idea is to band together a ton of personal computers around the world, to share the computing load. Currently, the site explains that now they are able to complete a protein fold in a matter of microseconds, light years ahead of where they used to be!

I ran into F@H from the overclocking website I frequent. It turns out that they have an entire team focused on F@H. Stats track all the user contributions and there’s a huge ranking system in place. In addition, every once in a while they throw online events to try and encourage people that don’t fold to try their hand at it, and prizes are rewarded. They also have adopt a rig and build a rig programs in place, where you can donate components for people to build computers and host them in their houses. Many of the threads are related to maximizing points per day, and outline different tweaks you can use to do this. Its sort of addicting I must say.

Right now I’ve joined the fray and have both of our computers at home folding and completing work orders throughout the day while the computers aren’t in use. I hope that our electrical bill isn’t too much! We usually leave the computers on all day anyways but there is a difference between the power usage of sleep mode versus computational load…a significant difference. But hey, its just one of those small things you can do to help science! If you can’t give 50 dollars a month directly to an organization, you can give it through an electrical bill. 🙂

A popular gaming and online term has always been WTF. When I first saw people saying this to each other on the folding forums I didn’t understand. WTF used to stand for “what the f”, but the team has adopted a new term for is that is “way to fold”! So if you ever hear someone talking about folding, you can say wtf to them and it will be ok.

Lastly, I’ll leave this snippet from our team forum thread: The Memorial Wall.

Team 32 Memorial Wall

We fold on for a cure.

We fold on for those who now are currently struggling with cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.

We fold on for advancement of the common good.

We fold on for science.

And, most importantly:

We fold on for those we have lost.

In this thread are memorialized those who team members have known who have passed from cancer.

We fold for you.

We have fought and will keep on fighting, that someday, we will crunch cures.

Links:

Folding @ Home Info Site

Team 32 (Overclockers.com) Stats A top five team in the world!

My Stats Page, just getting started.

Memorial wall where people have listed friends and family members who have died from diseases that protein folding is trying to help.

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