People around the world donate computing power to fight coronaviruses



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People around the world donate computing power to fight coronaviruses

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The biomedical research project Folding @ Home already uses more computing power than the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

Conceived at Stanford, this is a distributed computing project that uses the power of processing energy from the home computers of people around the world to solve a biomedical problem – finding a cure for Covid-19.

Since it was announced a few weeks ago, the project has increased its resources several times. According to the Folding @ Home statistics page, it already uses total computing performance of more than 1.5 shutdowns (1.500.000.000.000.000.000 floating point operations per second), which exceeds the processing power of even the most powerful supercomputers on the planet.

To get an idea of ‚Äč‚Äčthis potential, we can think of IBM’s recent announcement that the company is working with the US Department of Energy and other agencies to combine the computing power of several supercomputers (again in the fight against coronaviruses). The initiative uses 16 of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. They include those managed by MIT and NASA.

Finally, their combined capacity is 330 petaflops to calculate Covid-19. That’s just 0.33 exflops, less than a quarter of what Folding @ Home can already do.
The fact that the project is capable of generating a tremendous amount of computing power using the leisure of home and mainframe processors on home computers worldwide is a testament to how much public interest the venture has attracted.

According to HotHardware, about 98 petaflops were the strength of the Folding @ Home project in early March. This means that the initiative has received more effort and has received more than 15 times increased donations since the launch of the coronavirus research.

The increase in Folding @ Home capabilities is supported by the resources of some of the great powers in the computer world. These include companies like Ubisoft and Nvidia, as well as communities like Linus Tech Tips and the Reddit gaming community.

This allowed the project to add a huge computational resource: players usually have many powerful computers because their favorite games usually require a powerful graphics card. In this case, it turned out to be very relevant to the distributed budgets required by Folding @ Home.

What’s next? The ultimate goal of using all this processing power is to help develop the Covid-19 vaccine by modeling the behavior of the virus protein, Vice notes. Dr. Greg Bauman, director of Folding @ Home, posts on social media an example of how the system works.

In its 20-year history, Folding @ Home already enjoys an abundance of research that has been reviewed and analyzed by the scientific community and supported by relevant reviews. However, his achievements are a fact without the tremendous “firepower” now available to scientists. Therefore, doctors believe that the chances of this project to play a significant role in finding the coronavirus vaccine are great.

Regardless of whether a specific initiative will achieve the desired end result, the current capabilities of the project are a good reminder of the strength of human solidarity and unity.

People around the world who donate their home computer hardware for such a good reason are actually the creators of a distributed computer network that is over ten times more powerful than the world’s most powerful computer.

People around the world donate computing power to fight coronaviruses



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