Like so many of us I'm spending extra time at home thanks to COVID-19 but I can't stop feeling like I really want to do something to help. Obviously I'm no doctor but I do know technology, and I was thinking to myself if there was any way to use technology in some way to help out with this. With the advancements in ML and AI I figured that someone must have some project in the wild that I could contribute to in some way to "do my part". With a little research I stumbled across Folding@home a techy way to contribute to. This may not be a new effort, Folding@home was started way back in 2000 according to the Wikipedia page, but
Going through the F@H blog post from March 15th it's incredible to read what this project is trying to accomplish and also how they are using distributed computing to accomplish it. I won't plagiarize the article but I will summarize briefly and hopefully inspire some of you to investigate further. In short the project uses distributed computing in the form of agents that anyone can install on their computers to run simulations in the background when your system is not fully utilized (such as reading this article which requires very little computing power). The agent will receive a packet of data and run a simulation against, more specifically analyzing the proteins that the virus uses to attack our immune system.
So is this going to magically end this epidemic overnight? No of course not but the more processing cycles that people donate the better the chances that one of the simulations that may run on your computer will be the contribution that tips the scales. And even if this isn't the project that contributes to the ultimate global solution the research will help researchers in other ways, as we all know sometimes the greatest discoveries are in failures.
Special thanks to the Hardware Canucks Team, I follow their channel for computer hardware news & reviews and the below video was what inspired me to look into this project. Check out their video and the countless others who are creating Folding@home teams to combat this pandemic.
If you want to join the E13 team install the F@H software and use the team 243069. If you need help getting setup check out my post walking through a setup on a Windows computer.
What are you doing to keep yourself from going stir-crazy at home? Are you willing to join my folding team to do what you can to help fight this?
Thanks Fusion Medical Animation for the phenomenal picture I used for this post.