Monday, 22 April 2013

Folding @ Home

What is folding at home?

I’m guessing that most of you don’t know about Folding at Home, what it is or what it does. Basically Folding at Home, or F@H for short, is a programme developed by scientists at Stanford University that you can run on your PC or Playstation 3; it runs in the background using up your spare computing power in order to fold proteins. If you want to know more about what that actually means then go and have a look at the Folding at Home website
The Folding at Home website homepage
If you don’t want to read the complicated bit, Folding at Home simply calculates what proteins will do in certain circumstances. By doing this cures for Cancers, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s are being discovered. Are you wondering how your computer can manage all that yet? Well with over 150,000 computers folding worldwide the folding at home network is the largest distributed supercomputer in the world. Distributed computing is simply the distribution of work units to someone that completes the calculations for that unit and then sends the result back so they can be compiled with other results in order to discover the above cures.

Why fold?

I fold because it makes me feel a bit better when watching comic relief and all the adverts for charities that are on TV. Seen as I don’t have the money to give to charities, folding is an easy way to help out and I don’t really have to do much in order to do it. I know my reasons are fairly simple but from reading forums I know that many people fold as they (or people they know) have been affected by one of the issues that F@H sets out to solve. An excellent feature that has been introduced to the programme allows you to choose what sort of work units you fold, for example you could only fold Alzheimer’s work units, though you can just fold any unit given to you. Some people just have F@H running in the background like I do, but others have dedicated systems running 24/7.

Folding at Home Viewer
How to fold?

So hopefully you’re interested in making a difference and folding. If you want to get involved then head over to and follow the instructions (it’s really not difficult), you don’t even have to open the programme up when you start your computer. I fold for team 98860 which is the Redline@OC3D team. OC3D is a reviewing website for computer parts, and in my opinion it’s one of the best out there. The team is currently 45th in the world which is impressive when you compare it with the teams around it.

If you do start folding then just be aware that checking your stats is slightly addictive, whether it’s to see if your latest work unit has been added or seeing how you’re doing compared everyone else in the team. Stats can be found on the F@H website by clicking the link in the F@H client or a slightly better website in my opinion is which creates graphs of everyone’s and every team’s stats. If you click on the link then you’ll find me about half way down the page under the user Hails13.

My folding stats

If you are interested in folding then click one of the links to the F@H website and I look forward to watching you fly past me in the team table. If you have any problems with setting it up then give me a shout and I’ll do my best to help.

Well I promised in my last post that the rest would be shorter, I lied... sorry. After the feedback that I’ve had so far it doesn’t look like many of you will mind though. Thanks for all the feedback and please feel free to continue liking, sharing and commenting on the blog.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What's this all about?

Seen as this is my first blog post I'll explain what on earth I'm posting it for.

Seen as I am going to university (hopefully) in September, having a blog seems like the best way to keep anyone that wants to know in the loop about what's going on in my life. If you don't want to know then don't feel obliged to read it, but hopefully you will enjoy it and if it turns out how I hope it will then it may well serve as a useful guide for anyone going to university.

As it says in the little description that I have put at the side, I will be talking about my experiences at uni as well as some parts of what is going on in my life spiritually (as above if you're put off then feel free to ignore any posts along those lines, but hopefully everyone is open minded enough to have a quick glance anyway). Also anything interesting that I learn or see in the news may get a post, especially if its aviation or computer related. This is after writing my extended project earlier in the year which was titled: "How to increase the efficiency of aircraft". This left me with loads of ideas and an insight into so many new discoveries and inventions that are out there and I feel that some of them are too good or just too weird not to be shared.

Okay, now you have a vague idea why I'm writing, I'll explain the name and background of the blog as well as a bit about me.

The above (and background) photo is a picture of me flying a Grob 109 (Vigilant) back on 11/03/2012, a week before I flew the same aircraft solo (ZH129) around 632 VGS (Volunteer Gliding Squadron) at RAF Ternhill. I don't have a Private Pilot's Licence (PPL) yet but I intend to have one in the future and may well be doing a bit of flying whilst at uni.

As for the name of the blog, 80,000ft and climbing seemed like a fitting title for something about a journey including aircraft and spirituality. For anyone that doesn't understand the quote the SR-71 "Blackbird" is a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft capable of speeds 3 times faster than the speed of sound, so generally the pilots don't have to worry about being hit by things very much.

Screenshot from the Tom Clancy game "HAWX"
Finally a bit about me, and don't worry, my posts won't usually be anywhere near this long.

I am currently studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A-Level and should be going to The University of Sheffield in September to study Aerospace Engineering. Since 14 I have been in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets which is an organisation that has provided me with tons of information about aircraft as well as some amazing opportunities such as my gliding scholarship above. 

 I'm sure if you continue to read then you will learn plenty about me as I go along and I hope anyone that reads this gets something from it. Please feel free to comment or contact me privately.