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Are You Folding Right Now?

June 12, 2008

Folding@Home is a huge distributed computing project that aims to solve some of the mysteries of protein folding. 
Protein folding is a key medical research area. Proteins are long chain molecules that are fundamental to life. To perform their jobs as enzymes or antibodies or structural elements, these long chains must twist into a particular shape, in a self-assembly process called folding. When folding doesn't go quite right, the result can be disease -- Mad Cow disease and Alzheimer's are believed to be the result of protein misfolding.
The Pande Group at Stanford's chem department runs Folding@Home to simulate protein folding and explore how it can cause diseases. 
You can join the project by downloading software that runs on your computer, putting your spare cycles to good use. At the Stanford site, donor and team stats are updated several times a day. Currently, about a quarter million CPUs are active in Folding@Home. TG Daily estimates that if just one percent of all CUDA-capable users joined in, the Folding@Home machine would be judged the top HPC computer in the world.

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