Yes, you too can Fold@home!


So you have a 3.8GHz P4 with 2GB of fast RAM and RAID’ed banks of huge Ultra 320 SCSI disks with a 4 Mbps Cable connection to the web, and what do you do with it but play games and surf the internet? There is a way to really show what she can do and contribute to a greater cause for the good of humankind. Folding@home is a distributed-computing project run by a team from Stanford University that is exploring how proteins fold and unfold in order to carry out their functions within the body. When these proteins fold or unfold wrong, problems occur such as cancer. The calculations needed for just one project used to take months on supercomputers, but with the combined processing power of all the PC’s out there, they now have access to power literally thousands of times greater than a supercomputer can hope to achieve. Best of all, it uses processing time that would otherwise be wasted by computers sitting idle. The program doesn’t take up cycles in the middle of World of Warcraft or UT2004–it only kicks in when the computer has been idle for a user-adjustable time period. Leave it on all night (which you do anyway, right?) and it’ll run, then when you check your email in the morning, it’ll go away, waiting for those idle cycles again. It’s a clean program–no spyware, adware, or any other nasties, and it uninstalls in a second. Stanford is interested in your help for the greater good, not advertising sales. It even comes with a screensaver function so you can watch it work if you’d like. Download it at Folding@home and do something great with that hot rod. I’m folding–are you? [Britt Godwin]