Monday, February 02, 2009

Put Your Computer Or PS3 To Work For A Good Cause With Folding@Home

techimo team 111 f@h logoFolding@home is a world wide distributed computing project. The software which has been downloaded from people from throughout the world links together computers and Play Station 3s to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. These computers are then put to use using advanced computing methods, to share the workload amongst millions of PC's running this piece of software.

The goal is to try to figure out how proteins fold, or "misfold". When they misfold, it can lead to some well known and world wide diseases. (Examples being Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers.) This program tries to solve and cure these misfolding proteins.

What is Folding@Home (the Wikipedia definition)
Folding@home (sometimes abbreviated as FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing (DC) project designed to perform computationally intensive simulations of protein folding and other molecular dynamics (MD). It was launched on >October 1, 2000, and is currently managed by the Pande Group, within Stanford University's chemistry department, under the supervision of Professor Vijay Pande.

The none geek break down
Folding@Home links together millions of PCs to run simulation programs for calculation. The average computer user only uses a fraction of the computers actual power. This program uses that left over power, what we call "idle" clock cycles, to run these tests. F@H uses the left over power from your CPU or graphics card that you're not using.

It sounds interesting how do I help?
To get started visit the download page and download the client that corresponds with your system. You should see a list of recommended software (based on information furnished by your browser). There are many different clients for the many different systems out there so be sure to check to make sure you get the right one. Any/Every contribution helps so it doesn't matter if you are running the program some of the time, or all of the time will help. Just so long as you keep it running.

Still not sure about what to do
Don't worry there is plenty of help out there. First off check the Folding@Home main site, there you'll find the installation guides, you'll also fine a great FAQs. If you are still stumped then head over to the very useful user forums. If after all that you can't figure it out then drop me a message and I'll try to walk you through it.

Now the fun part!
As many of my readers know I've been a member of the TechIMO community for several years, a little more than 6 years actually. As part of TechIMO we've got a great Distributed Computing community, within that community is Folding@Home Team 111.This a great group of guys and gals dedicated to helping everyone get the most out of their F@H experience. They've even setup monthly giveaways to help fellow members create better F@H rigs.

Last month I was the winner of a new NVIDIA 9600 GSO (January Folding@Home Team 111 Giveaway) Once a month the core members (yes this is sponsored by the members themselves and not the site) of Team 111 will be giving away a prize to a certain member for folding for Team 111. Prizes may range from points per day, to system upgrades and, possibly even a complete system. In order to be eligible for this giveaway you must be a member of TechIMO as well as a member of Folding@Home Team 111 and have have folded for the team for at least 1 month.

If you are willing to give it a try and put that computer to work doing some good head over to the Folding@Home main page and download then software. Once you get it installed be sure to enter team 111 in the team field then head over to TechIMO and sign up. Drop by the distributed folding forum and say hi.

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