Folding at Home: Put Your GPUs to Work to Fight COVID-19

Folding at Home Project recruits idle GPUs and personal computers to simulate virus behavior.

Crowd-sourced HPC project from Stanford University let you donate idle computing cycles for virus research.

Crowdsourced distributed computing project joins the fight against Covid-19.


Do you know that the powerful GPU in your gaming machine or workstation could be put to use in the fight against COVID-19?

[email protected], a distributed computing project to research protein dynamics, is now devoting its resources to simulate the dynamics of COVID-19, the virus behind the current global outbreak.

On March 15, Greg Bowen, the project's codirector, wrote, “We’re simulating the dynamics of COVID-19 proteins to hunt for new therapeutic opportunities ... Downloading [email protected] and helping us run simulations is the primary way to contribute.”

Chances are, your computer is sitting idle at various times in the day as you sleep, take a shower, or watch Netflix (a popular activity for those under lockdown to stem the virus's spread). If you're part of the project, then your unused computing cycles during those times become part of the distributed computing infrastructure to simulate and render COVID-19's behavior.

“While you keep going with your everyday activities, your computer will be working to help us find cures for diseases like cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Influenza and many others,” [email protected] explains.

The call is particularly relevant to those operating hardware with powerful GPUs.

“GPUs have the possibility to perform an enormous number of Floating Point Operations (FLOPs) ... After much work, we have been able to write a highly optimized molecular dynamics code for GPU’s, achieving a 20x to 40x speed increase over comparable CPU code for certain types of calculations,” wrote [email protected]

The call from [email protected] is answered by PC Master Race, an online computer enthusiast community. The PC Master Race now has a dedicated page to direct members to the [email protected] project.

GPU maker NVIDIA redistributed the message from its GeForce Twitter account (see below).

To download the app and join the project, go to this link.

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Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at digitaleng.news/facebook.

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