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Distributed computing project simulating protein folding / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project aimed to help scientists develop new therapeutics for a variety of diseases by the means of simulating protein dynamics. This includes the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins, and is reliant on simulations run on volunteers' personal computers.[5] Folding@home is currently based at the University of Pennsylvania and led by Greg Bowman, a former student of Vijay Pande.[6]

Quick facts: Original author(s), Developer(s), Initial rel...
Original author(s)Vijay Pande
Developer(s)Pande Laboratory, Sony, Nvidia, ATI Technologies, Joseph Coffland, Cauldron Development[1]
Initial releaseOctober 1, 2000; 22 years ago (2000-10-01)
Stable release
7.6.21 / October 23, 2020; 2 years ago (2020-10-23)[2]
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 3 (discontinued as of firmware version 4.30)
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, ARM64, CUDA[3]
Available inEnglish, French, Spanish, Swedish
TypeDistributed computing
LicenseProprietary software[4]

The project utilizes graphics processing units (GPUs), central processing units (CPUs), and ARM processors like those on the Raspberry Pi for distributed computing and scientific research. The project uses statistical simulation methodology that is a paradigm shift from traditional computing methods.[7] As part of the client–server model network architecture, the volunteered machines each receive pieces of a simulation (work units), complete them, and return them to the project's database servers, where the units are compiled into an overall simulation. Volunteers can track their contributions on the Folding@home website, which makes volunteers' participation competitive and encourages long-term involvement.

Folding@home is one of the world's fastest computing systems. With heightened interest in the project as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,[8] the system achieved a speed of approximately 1.22 exaflops by late March 2020 and reached 2.43 exaflops by April 12, 2020,[9] making it the world's first exaflop computing system. This level of performance from its large-scale computing network has allowed researchers to run computationally costly atomic-level simulations of protein folding thousands of times longer than formerly achieved. Since its launch on October 1, 2000, Folding@home was involved in the production of 226 scientific research papers.[10] Results from the project's simulations agree well with experiments.[11][12][13]