Folding@home is a distributed computing project designed to perform computationally intensive simulations of protein folding and other molecular dynamics. It was launched on October 1, 2000, and is currently managed by the Pande Group, within Stanford University's chemistry department. It is the most powerful distributed computing cluster in the world. As of September 14th 2009, it is sustaining 7.87 PFLOPS, the first computing project of any kind to cross the four petaFLOPS milestone. The goal of the project is "to understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases."
Accurate simulations of protein folding and misfolding enable the scientific community to better understand the development of many diseases, including sickle-cell disease (drepanocytosis), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, mad cow disease, cancer, Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, and other aggregation-related diseases. More fundamentally, understanding the process of protein folding - how biological molecules assemble themselves into a functional state - is one of the outstanding problems of molecular biology. So far, the Folding@home project has successfully simulated folding in the 5-10 microsecond range - which is a far longer simulation than it was previously thought possible to model. The Pande Group goal is to refine and improve the MD and Folding@home DC methods to the level where it will become an essential tool for the MD research. For that goal they collaborate with various scientific institutions. As of July 31, 2009, sixty-nine scientific research papers have been published using the project's work.
Folding@home does not rely on powerful supercomputers for its data processing; instead, the primary contributors to the Folding@home project are many hundreds of thousands of personal computer users who have installed a small client program. The client runs in the background, utilizing otherwise unused CPU power. In most modern personal computers, the CPU is rarely used to its full capacity at all times; the Folding@home client takes advantage of this unused processing power.
1 .Download Folding@Home
http://www.scei.co.jp/folding/en/index.html - Playstation3
2. Install the software
3. Start Folding@Home
4. On the user tab, create a user name and enter team number 172378. The click OK.
You will also need to add a link to your startup folder if you want it to start whenever you startup your computer.
I became interested in this while reading a new novel, Storm Cycle by Iris and Roy Johansen, that features distributed computing as a central aspect of the story.