One of the world’s largest supercomputers, Folding@home tackles some of biology’s toughest problems, including COVID-19. How? By working out how the proteins in your body wiggle around.
This helps researchers figure out which drugs and vaccines interact with a protein to either block or promote its activity—in order to treat, cure, or prevent a disease. Currently, Folding@home are working on the proteins involved in COVID-19 to help find potential treatments and, ultimately, a cure. But simulating protein folding and movement produces a tremendous amount of data – which takes a colossal amount of computer power to sort through. That’s where Intel comes in.
When given the opportunity to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by donating unused processing power, Intel employees jumped at the chance to collaborate with Folding@home. Spearheading the project is Peter Logan, Neural Compute Stick Product Manager at Edge.AI, part of the Internet of Things Group. He hopes this is just the beginning of Intel making a huge impact with auxiliary resources. “I want to change what Intel does with idle compute resources. If we have the machines powered on in the various labs we have around the world, we might as well be using them to do something useful.”
Before COVID-19, roughly 20 Intel employees were participating in the Folding@home initiative. Now, Intel is the ninth biggest contributor, with about 90 employees and fifteen Intel labs around the world contributing their idle compute time. Pete is working with Intel IT so the F@H software can be used more widely on Intel owned machines. Looking toward the future, he says, “There’s great scope for using idle compute on our clusters to contribute towards [Intel’s 2030 Corporate Responsibility] goals, such as for healthcare or sustainability. There are other distributed compute projects for topics like medicine, humanitarian mapping and imaging, STEM subjects and climate change.”
Interested in donating to the cause? You can help too. It’s as simple as downloading Folding@home on your home computer and allowing it to run in the background. Contact Pete if you’re a lab owner who is interested in participating.
Join the global Folding@home initiative today: https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/
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