Global Data Center Resources Support COVID Research

Idle computer time is being crowdsourced to power medical research by volunteer organization, Folding@home.

Introducing a whole new way to donate! This may be the safest, easiest, and most impactful way to give back. Folding@home, an organization of volunteer scientists, is using Stanford-built technology to collect idle computer time which allows their system to run faster and create more “folding” simulations for medical research. By doing so, they hope to find treatments for diseases like Coronavirus, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. 
“Folding” is a term used to describe the way proteins in our bodies are arranged and how they move. Scientists are using computer simulations to understand the proteins’ moving parts. It’s important to understand how they move because seeing movement within a protein structure can reveal previously unknown and beneficial “binding sites.” Binding sites are areas where drugs can attach to the protein structure, opening the door for new treatment opportunities. Viruses are made up of proteins. If researchers can understand how these viral proteins work, they can design treatments to stop them. 
The computer simulations that allow scientists to see proteins are enormous. The performance of their computers is measured in Teraflops, which means they are completing trillions of math operations per second. That’s where we come in! Because this medical research is fueled by computer power, Folding@home needs every bit available. Since announcing their effort toward COVID-19, Folding@home’s power grew to be ten times faster than IBM’s Summit supercomputer. People all over the world are coming together to fight Coronavirus, and this is a simple way for everyone to contribute.

This video shows part of a Folding@home simulation of a protein where atoms (shown as spheres) move aside, exposing a drug binding site.

Anyone can donate their computer time as long as they run a Windows, Linux, or Mac operating system. The software runs while your computer is not in use. The time you contribute is tracked by the software which can be viewed online along with others folding their computer time. You can even start a team and see how much, as a group, your computers have given to Folding@home’s medical research. Start folding by simply downloading the software on the Folding@home website. After downloading, you’re able to prioritize a specific project, such as Coronavirus, where your time will be applied.
In April, Oasis began folding idle server time from our UK & US locations (we’re currently ranking in the top 2% of contributors!). The idea is thrilling; to be able to contribute to the current pandemic and medical research as a whole by leveraging the power of our locations around the world. In just a short time, our systems have been put to work assisting with the Coronavirus research and we’re excited to grow our donation efforts. We hope you start folding today, too!