Just like us metal fabricators, Scientists have tools too (except theirs are way more expensive). One of their tools is computing power which just happens to be something we personally can help them out with. Read more to see how you can help them create treatments for Coronavirus and other diseases using nothing more than your PC!
If you are anything like me you probably sitting at home feeling helpless like there is nothing you can do to help. All events are cancelled, most schools and libraries closed, restaurants are starting to close, and it just feels weird. On top of that, it is cold outside and I don’t feel like going to the garage. However I recently discovered that instead of just sitting here moping about it, we can actually do something to help.
Why do scientists need computing power?
Scientists need processing power to simulate the protein folding of cells to see where and when they could potentially apply drugs/treatments. Supercomputer time costs a lot of money that public research doesn’t have the resources for, so in 2003 Folding @ Home was established and worked with Standford University to come up with a ‘distributed computing’ platform. This platform is able to break huge projects into small workloads that consumer grade devices that can process and send back in.
If you have a computer that stays on most or all of the time, you can help! Folding@Home puts your empty computational cycles to work when you aren’t using your PC. The better the processor and graphics card, the more help you can provide. Gaming PC’s are the best for this.
Note: I have no affiliation with Folding@Home. I am just a nerd and think it is a cool way to help out.
Info from Folding@Home on how to help:
“Downloading Folding@home and helping us run simulations is the primary way to contribute. These calculations are enormous and every little bit helps! Each simulation you run is like buying a lottery ticket. The more tickets we buy, the better our chances of hitting the jackpot...”https://foldingathome.org/2020/03/15/coronavirus-what-were-doing-and-how-you-can-help-in-simple-terms/
While right now the workload is focused on Coronavirus, Folding@Home computes on protiens for Cancers (Breast, Kidney, etc.), infectious diseases (Zika, Hepatitis, Ebola, etc.), and Neurological diseases (Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc.). Think how great the world would be if we found fixes for these.
How YOU can help find a cure/treatment for COVID-19 / Corona Virus
Go to https://foldingathome.org/ and click ‘Start Folding Now!‘. After a quick app download, create a username and join the DIYMetalFabrication team #240483.
There is no benefit to DIYMetalFab for you joining our team, other than we will feel cool for actually having a team with people on it. Giving back is important and I hope you will join us.
Settings and notes
This program runs in the background and you shouldn’t notice affects other than your computer fan being a little louder than normal (lots of heat generated running these computations). There are three power settings you can select. You can also select for it to compute only when your computer is idle (recommended) so it doesn’t impact performance when you are using it.
On my computer, I found that the chrome browser caused the web controls to refresh endlessly. I opened it in Internet Explorer instead and it displays fine.
Note: Please don’t run this on your work computer or anybody else’s computer, it is not ethical and I also don’t want you to get in trouble.
I am a long time computer and anything technology or mechanical geek. If it moves or builds something I like it. If it is sports related I likely don’t care about it or am only there for the beer and cheese dip.
My nerdiness goes way back to the early times of distributed computing starting with SETI@home in the early 2000’s with a small hoarde of DIY built custom gaming PC’s (sorry parents, I might have upped your power bill a bit way back in the day!). In case you didn’t know, the SETI part stands for the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence which is neat but not very useful in the near term. In our case today Folding@home and its current workload around Coronavirus is way more relevant. I can actually feel like I am helping.
It is more fun when we can compete. Click the button below to see what rank the DIY team currently is:
Now YOU, go download this app and donate some computing cycles to the PUBLIC scientists and researchers that dedicate their lives to making our lives longer. This program is for open/public research projects ONLY. All research findings found based on Folding@Home computations must be published, which is kind of cool.
Be nice, do what you can to help, and stay safe/healthy out there!
We have been folding nonstop as a team for over a month now. Unfortunately nobody who read this article has joined in yet. However One of my buddies and I have been dedicating all of our resources to it. Here are our stats as of today:
We hope to get to a million points here in the next week or so! Let’s get together and knock this virus out!