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Don’t forget the folding

December 7, 2011 3 comments

With the recent discovery of an earth-like planet kick-starting it, SETI is now looking for more extra-solar planets. While their fundraising machine seems to be shifting into gear, it remains to be seen whether SETI’s going to ask us to link our computers again to help out with the crunching the data.

Hopefully, a “yes” answer will be forthcoming.

SCALE 10XThe reason I bring this up is because the Felton Linux Users Group is involved in a SETI-like project hosted by Stanford University called Folding@home. Folding@home is a distributed computing project — people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world.

According to its site, Folding@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved. Protein folding is linked to disease, such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many cancers. When proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. “misfold”), there can be serious consequences, including those aforementioned diseases.

So Felton LUG contributed by forming a team and letting our computers run the data in the background. Just like when SETI was looking for ET, Folding@home looks for cures; both a worthy use of extra processor time.

In addition, Christer Edwards — those of you who run in desktop environment circles will know that name — has developed software to go along with Folding@home called, wait for it, Origami. Check it out.

The Felton LUG team is 212524 and you’re welcome to join us. If you want to form your own team, there’s a link on the site to do that.

Thanks in advance for your help.

[New blog announcement: Since I've been spending a lot of time using CrunchBang and since it's staying on my second laptop, I've started a blog called "Larry the CrunchBang Guy" to write on CrunchBang-specific topics and commentary. Some of the items on this blog that deal with CrunchBang will also appear on that blog, as well as CrunchBang adventures that may not show up on Larry the Free Software Guy.]

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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