Although GPUs (or graphics cards) heavily impact the way that we experience PCA gaming, and heavy tasks like video editing, they’re currently being used as a resource in helping with research to tackle the current Coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Nvidia is asking PC gamers to donate their unused computing cycles as part of a new initiative called Folding@Home.
What is Folding@Home?
Stanford University saw the birth of the Folding@Home computer project back in 2000 with the purpose of researching new and existing disease information.Taking the unused horsepower of CPUs and GPUs globally allows the process to simulate computational drug design and protein folding techniques.
In lamens terms, Folding@Home uses a variety of computed simulations to understand the moving parts of a specified protein. Scientists can move towards finding a cure for a particular protein once they grasp the understanding of how a protein and atoms interact with each other. For the processes to work, they need massive amounts of power which are where the rigs of PC gamers come into action.
Folding@Home Director Greg Bowman explains “Viruses also have proteins that they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves. To help tackle coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapeutics to stop them.”
Should you wish to delve deeper into understanding the way the Folding@Home system works, you can do so here in the writeup from Greg Bowman.
How to join the fight against COVID-19
All you need to get started is a Windows, macOS or a Linux-based PC with a dedicated graphics card, at which point you can join the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus by donating your spare GPU cycles. In doing so, this will help scientists to understand more about the novel Coronavirus disease.
Head over to the official Folding@Home downloads page to obtain the software for your operating system.
The only other step required is to install the client. If you need help with the install take a look at the detailed Folding@Home installation guide for your particular operating system. After that, simply install Folding@Home. Should you need help, here’s a link to detailed installation guides for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
No Graphics Card? No problem!
Not everyone has a dedicated graphics card, and that’s fine, you can still help fight diseases. For those with CPU-only builds, these have positive impacts on the research for cancer, Huntington’s in addition to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The team behind Folding@Home are already working on CPU-only workloads in the background, although there’s no date as to when this will become available.