Give your unused computing power to a great cause

As open source tech hippies, we kept asking ourselves, what more can we do to help flatten the curve in the fight against Covid-19.  Our action plan, (https://lsd.co.za/lsd-covid19-action-plan/) has our people working from home and meeting virtually, supporting staff and families with kids, ensuring people can and do self isolate. This is great (and to be frank, the minimum anyone should be doing), our tech minds kept saying, what else can we do…

Folding@Home

We came upon this project – ‘Folding@Home’, a distributed computing project from Pande Labs at Stanford University. The project runs medical simulations to help disease research, “simulating protein folding, computational drug design and other types of molecular dynamics”, according to their website. In short, they ask you to lend them some of your computing power while you aren’t using it to work on these models. The more computers help to fold, the more simulations can be run.   See their Covid statement here – https://foldingathome.org/2020/03/15/coronavirus-what-were-doing-and-how-you-can-help-in-simple-terms/

We’ve asked everyone internally to run the client to lend some of their spare computing power in helping research towards Covid.  We are also challenging other businesses, particularly in the information technology space, to register a team, and join us in doing our part to help solve this pandemic.

How to get started:

  1. Download the Folding@Home installer for your platform of choice here: https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/
  2. Join or create a team for your business. Share the team ID with us on info@lsd.co.za or through a DM on Twitter.
  3. Set up how you’d prefer Folding@Home to use your computing power – preferably while your computer is idle to avoid interfering with your work
  4. Select ‘Any Disease’, so that your computing power is directed to Covid-19, the default disease being researched now.
  5. Sleep better knowing you don’t need to figure out how to fold proteins, but you’re part the Covid solution.

Honorary mention: Rosetta@Home. This is a fully open source joint-project between a couple of medical research institutions. The reason it wasn’t our top recommendation is the relative complexity of getting the client software set up. For the more technical, check out the project here on their website. Whichever option you choose to run will be contributing to Covid-19 research.   

If doing this from a work computer, please do get the proper approval. It is a 3rd party piece of software and will use electricity, compute and network resources. 

We’re always keeping our ears to the ground for more initiatives, please let us know if you learn of anything else we could be doing!