Folding @ home

This is Just one of the 7 computers from both the studio and at home that I have devoted to this at 100% :) At present that makes it 68 CPU cores and over 14000 CUDA cores devoted to @folding.at.home I also just ditched my other team (sorry @linustech but you really didn’t need my help) to join @make.art.now ‘s team at OSCAR TANGO INDIA SIERRA.

What is Folding at home you may ask?

Well I am an artist that didn’t do very well in Bio so I pretty much just pulled this from the folding at home website and summarized as best as my Liberal Arts degree will let me :)

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

The problem is we can’t build microscopes that can zoom into the size scale that these proteins exist on, so one of the more powerful ways researchers have at looking at these processes of folding proteins is though massive computer simulations. However the problems that researchers are trying to solve require so many computer calculations that they are expensive and hard to accomplish.

Which is where you and Folding@home comes in. It is basically just a really big distributed computer cluster that allows you to share your unused computer power with the researchers in this project.

So what is your computer doing for the researchers?

Seeing a single structure of a protein (left) is like seeing players lined up for the snap in football. Important information, but a lot missing too. What happens when the ‘play’ starts how do the players move in relation to each other? Where is the ball going to be? The protein structure shows a sphere for each atom (blue) and red arrows highlighting the one drug binding site in this protein.

The folding at home specialty is in using these powerful computer simulations to understand the proteins’ moving parts. Watching how the atoms in a protein move relative to one another is important because it captures valuable information that is inaccessible by any other means.

Taking these experimental structures as starting points, the folding@home team can simulate how all the atoms in the protein move, effectively filling in the rest of the game that experiments miss.

Creating a movie capturing how the protein moves is like getting to watch the whole football game. In this case, we see a pocket form that was absent in the experimental structure. These pockets can be a place that a drug could potentially bind with the proteins which could result in a potential cure. These druggable sites might not be visible at the ‘snap’ but can be seen as the ‘play’ happens so to speak, and your computer power can help show researchers that play happen.

How do I help?

So hit up the https://foldingathome.org/ website and join in on helping find a cure or treatment for Covid19 and many other diseases

Folding@home is now based at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, under the directorship of  Dr. Greg Bowman. Drs. John Chodera (MSKCC) and Vince Voelz 

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