At this time, we’re all looking for ways that we can help with the wider effort against COVID-19 while also staying safe.
Due to recent upgrades to our datacentre infrastructure, Akita now has additional CPU capacity. So to help, we’re lending this capacity to help identify and fight the root causes of diseases.
Folding@home is a project that uses distributed computing capacity to simulate protein dynamics.
Proteins are chemicals that are key to the way our bodies work. Scientists have been working to discover the secrets of proteins for some time. While the human genome project identified the proteins within the human body, there is still a lack of understanding of what each protein does.
The way proteins structure themselves in the body (known as ‘folding’) results in the creation of useful antibodies, hormones and enzymes. But it’s also believed that mistakes in this folding process can result in diseases such as Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis and a range of cancers. Understanding how proteins should work could, therefore, be the key to understanding more about these diseases.
Proteins are also a key part of viruses such as COVID-19. So understanding more about how they work could eventually help us understand how to stop them.
Helping the fight
Computer modelling is used to map proteins and understand how they fold. But the human genome alone contains over 20,000 proteins, each one a combination of around 20 different chemicals known as amino acids. A huge amount of computing power is therefore needed to process and understand each protein.
To achieve this, folding@home is working to split the required processing across computers and datacentres around the world. Over one million people are currently involved, with processing being donated by some of the world’s largest tech companies.
By donating our additional datacentre capacity, we’re helping to complete projects that understand proteins. One day, this research may lead to new ways of fighting key diseases.
Anyone with a computer can contribute spare processing capacity to the project by downloading the folding@home software. This software runs as a background activity, working on projects without interfering with your computer usage.
To find out more about folding@home, please visit: https://foldingathome.org/
For more information about Akita’s datacentres and hosted services, please get in touch.