Let us introduce you what this is all about!
Let’s start by explaining the name of the project:
By folding you understand the process used by proteins to transform themselves, from being a simple linear chain of amino acids into a fully functional protein: youtube link.
This transformation is critical as only a correctly folded protein is capable of performing its function and thus allowing a healthy life. On the contrary, misfolded proteins have been identified as the main cause of serious diseases.
@home means that thanks to the F@h client (which you may download for free), it is possible for anyone to partecipate to the research by donating some calculating power of their computer.
Main focus of the project is to research diseases by using very complex calculations which are solved by computers. Those operations are so difficult that it is necessary a huge processing power which is achieved by involving thousands of volunteers who are donating some of their computing power. Here below some examples of pathologies which are being studied:
There are three laboratories which are making use of the Folding@home project and its volunteers:
Dr. Greg Bowman is the director of Folding@home and is based at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Work Units and Points Per Day (PPD)
If you participate to the F@h project most probably you will be interested in knowing how much you have contributed to the cause. In order to measure the effort and contribution of each user a given amount of points is attributed for each Work Unit (WU) which has been completed and successfully sent back to the laboratories for evaluation: based on such amount of points one can tell how much that particular user has been contributing. Of course, this is also a very nice way to compete with each other and to keep everyone motivated. Should you want to check how the Swiss Folding Team is performing you may visit this page on extremeoverclocking.com.