Folding at home

From Brenchie's Lab
Revision as of 15:55, 27 March 2020 by Tonyman (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

If you have a gaming laptop, or any computer with a dedicated graphics card, you can set it up to help simulate proteins from coronavirus / COVID-19 to advance scientific understanding of the virus.

A little explanation: viruses are made up of DNA, a relatively small amount, and DNA makes RNA which makes proteins. The SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) DNA has been sequenced, so we know what it looks like, which also tells us something about what the protein it makes will be made out of, but it doesn't tell us how it will be shaped, which is important! So the program below, Folding@home, uses your computer to wiggle and move the protein into a bunch of different positions and simulate how stable they are, how well they click together. The idea is to figure out how the proteins from COVID-19 are structured, then to use that information to figure out how to treat and / or prevent illness from the virus. More details about the project can be found here on the Folding@home website

This page describes how to get it set up, based on our experiences. Steps are below to help you get folding!
  1. Go to and click the "Start Folding Now" button
  2. Download the installer for your operating system and install it Link to Windows Installer
  3. Open it up, and follow the instructions. You can fold anonymously or put your name. The Team Number and Passkey stuff doesn't really matter, you can ignore it.
  4. To contribute the most, set the power to full and check of "While I'm Working". For the disease setting at the top, leave it on Any disease, which will prioritize COVID-19.
  5. Just a note, when you first start the program it might initially work on a different project, but don't worry, it will eventually switch to COVID-19.
  6. If you want to check which project you're computer is working on, open the Web Control window, and click on the GPU progress bar.

For gaming laptops, you might also need to make sure your GPU is set up right. We needed to do this so just in case here are the steps we took.
  1. Go to device manager (windows key, type "device manager" and press enter) and click on Display adapters, then right click and disable the integrated graphics (ours was Intel).
  2. Open your GPU's software and make sure the driver is up to date. Ours was called GeForce Experience, it has a Drivers tab at the top and buttons to Check for Updates and Install Updates.
  3. Restart everything and it should be good to go

Here are a couple of links to more info from the Folding@home website

If you have anything to add or have corrections to make to this process we're always happy to hear from you. Since this is a Wiki you can even make an account and make edits here! Otherwise feel free to email us at lab [at] brenchies [dot] com.

Happy folding!