Garden Street Academy has joined the fight against Covid19. Last week, we began donating the computing power of our idle Tech Lab computers to Folding@Home. This distributed computing platform has set its sights on better understanding the 2019 Coronavirus to help develop treatments for the disease.
Similar to SETI@Home, Folding@Home uses a network of volunteer computers to run very complex calculations without having to buy computing time on expensive supercomputers. Instead of searching for signs of intelligent life on other worlds, Folding@Home tries to simulate how proteins move to find treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and now Covid19.
Proteins aren’t static; they move (if they didn’t, our muscles wouldn’t work). While scientists can take snapshots of a protein molecule, it’s impossible to see it move in real-time, making it difficult to find hidden structures that might respond to drug treatments. The simulations running on our computers allow scientists to model how Covid19 proteins move, leading to experimental tests that confirm the simulations.
Since GSA started running simulations last Thursday, our team has already become ranked in the top five percent out of over 250,000 teams. You can track our progress on our team page. If you want to volunteer your computer to the effort, you can download the software, and it will optimize itself for your computer (not recommended for laptops unless they’re high-end). You can join our team and contribute to our stats by entering our team number, 260687, when you set up the app.
Learn more about Folding@Home’s efforts here.
Update (May 8, 2020): After one month, GSA’s worldwide team ranking has moved all the way up to the top 1.7%, completing over 4450 work units.