What is protein folding?
Proteins are biology's workhorses - its nanomachines. Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. When proteins do not fold correctly there can be serious effects, including many well known diseases such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS and Parkinson's disease. If you wish, you can read a more detailed scientific explanation
What is Folding@home?
Folding@Home is a distributed computing project which studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. It uses novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. The client software is designed such that for every computer that joins the project, there is a commensurate increase in simulation speed.
Why should I help?
In addition to biomedical applications, learning about how proteins fold will also teach us how to design our own protein-sized nanomachines. The Folding@home project has already returned many promising results and led to numerous scientific papers. It is run by a nonprofit, educational institute which makes all data collected freely available.
Once installed, Folding@home uses spare CPU cycles to process the folding simulation without slowing down your computer. The software can be installed on almost any system with an internet connection, even if you use a firewall or proxy server. It is designed to run without getting in the way or requiring user intervention.
How do I sign up?
To get started, please follow these steps:
- Download and Install Folding@home
You must decide whether you wish to use the graphical or text-only client.
Lets you easily change settings and check the program status.
Mac OS X [Instructions]
Has a command-line interface. the Windows version can be configured to run as a background service. The Macintosh graphical client includes a text-only version so there's no separate download.
There are a number of other high-performance clients available, such as SMP clients for users with multiprocessor or multicore systems, GPU clients for users with high performance graphics cards, and a PS3 client for the popular console. You can earn a large amount of points using these clients, so for more information please see the Shroomery Folding@home Thread.
- Pick a Username
You need to pick a name to use when submitting results. You can choose any username you like, as long as it contains only letters or numbers (to insert a space, use the underscore "_" character). If you use your email as your username, just the part before the @ sign will be publicly displayed. To check if your desired username is available, use the field below. If the search returns no results, your name is free. You may also submit results as "Anonymous" if you wish.
- Join the Shroomery Team
Please type in 12679 when you are prompted for a team number during setup so your completed work will also be counted towards our team total. By forming a team we hope to encourage more members to sign up for Folding@home, and achieving a high rank is also a great way for our community to get some positive exposure. We're already in the top 200 and with your help our rank will continue to rise!
You can install Folding@home on more than one computer to increase the amount of work that's processed. Besides helping out a noble cause, this will increase your stats and add to the Shroomery team stats as well. Be sure you receive proper permission before installing the software on any computer which doesn't belong to you.
Once you have Folding@home up and running, or if you encounter any problems along the way, these resources may be of interest:
- Folding@home Website
The official website provides FAQs, forums, tech support, scientific papers, project details, user and team statistics, and other information.
- Shroomery Folding@home Thread
Located in our Science and Technology forum, this thread is for asking questions and discussing Folding@home with other Shroomery members.
- Detailed Team Stats (Extreme Overclocking)
This page provides detailed statistics about the Shroomery team including top contributors, production history and close competitors.