Standford's [email protected] project looking to tap into latent PC power to tackle the coronavirus

You can help fight the novel coronavirus with your PC. (Source: CDC)
You can help fight the novel coronavirus with your PC. (Source: CDC)
Standford’s [email protected] project has been running for a number of years using the donated idle hours of computers to help undertake complex calculations for researchers. With the advent of the novel coronavirus, researchers are now putting out a call to help develop potential treatments for COVID-19, the infectious disease it causes in humans.
Sanjiv Sathiah,

Many PlayStation 3 gamers will be familiar with Standford’s [email protected] (FAH) project, which developed a piece of software to tap into donated time on user’s consoles to help undertake complex folding protein computational analysis to develop treatments for an array of illnesses. Although Sony eventually dropped support for the initiative, FAH has continued to tap into the latent processing power of people’s PCs to help with ongoing protein folding research. FAH has now turned its distributed computational analysis to help develop potential treatments for COVID-19 caused 2019-nCOV better known as the novel coronavirus.

FAH explains its approach:

For both coronaviruses [the current 2019 nCoV and SARS], the first step of infection occurs in the lungs, when a protein on the surface of the virus binds to a receptor protein on a lung cell. This viral protein is called the spike protein ... Proteins are not stagnant—they wiggle and fold and unfold to take on numerous shapes. We need to study not only one shape of the viral spike protein, but all the ways the protein wiggles and folds into alternative shapes.

Among the tech giants who have offered support for FAH, along with compatibility for their hardware are Intel, Nvidia, Google, BE, EVGA, Ubisoft, 1fnts and AMD. Anyone who wants to participate in the project can simply download the software compatible with their machine and OS to donate their computational power to the project. Given that the best case scenarios for developing a vaccine is at least 18 months away, donating come clock cycles to the project is a small way in which anyone can contribute to the fight against this serious contagion.

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-03- 3 (Update: 2020-03- 3)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.