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  1. Stanford group wants to use your computer to help researchers study the coronavirus [email protected] leverages unused computing power from idle machines Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images Stanford University’s [email protected] distributed computing project is seeking volunteers to help researchers develop treatment therapies for the novel coronavirus. [email protected] (FAH) uses the processing capacity of networked computers to simulate the complex process of protein folding, which helps determine how to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and SARS, another coronavirus. A brief explainer from [email protected]: 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 Studying how the protein folds could eventually help researchers develop drugs that could treat infections of the virus. This kind of research requires substantial computational power, which FAH generates by tapping into volunteers’ CPUs when they’re idle. The project famously used to use idle Sony PlayStation 3s, whose unique “Core” processors offered better performance at the time than comparable computers for the specific tasks FAH was doing. But Sony removed the functionality from PS3s in 2012. To participate in the coronavirus project, download the FAH software, and your computer’s unused resources will go to the [email protected] Consortium, “where a research team at Memorial Sloan Kettering is working to advance our understanding of the structures of potential drug targets for 2019-nCoV that could aid in the design of new therapies,” according to FAH’s blog post. There have been more than 89,000 confirmed cases worldwide of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. More than 3,000 people have died from the disease, including six people in Washington State. Marked by a cough, fever, and shortness of breath, the illness is typically mild, affecting the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions most acutely. Source: Stanford group wants to use your computer to help researchers study the coronavirus (The Verge)
  2. CERN contributes 10,000 computer cores to the Folding at Home project The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is contributing to the fight against COVID-19 by donating computing resources to the [email protected] project. The [email protected] project is a distributed computing project for simulating the dynamics of protein molecules to cure diseases like COVID-19, Alzheimer's, and cancer. CERN will be contributing 10,000 computer cores from its main data center, but this accounts for up to a third of the total ‘work units’ that the research center has completed for [email protected] The rest comes from contributions made directly by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) computing sites. Combining the two, the CERN and LHC computing team became the 87th biggest contributor to the project as of April 21. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the [email protected] has seen more than a 1,200% increase in the number of folders. The maximum collective computing power of the distributed system now stands at almost 2.5 exaFLOPS, making it more than that of the top 500 supercomputers combined. This computation power will be used to improve our understanding of the internal structure of the coronavirus with the help of computer simulations. Computer simulations play an important role in protein sequencing for determining how the three-dimensional structure of proteins can change over time. This can reveal target sites where potential drugs can be used to attack the protein and cause it to malfunction thereby effectively inoculating the virus. Source: CERN contributes 10,000 computer cores to the Folding at Home project (Neowin)
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