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 folding.stanford.edu

folding.stanford.edu
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 folding.stanford.edu 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 http://folding.extremeoverclocking.com/user_list.php?s=&t=98860&p=2 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.