The global pandemic caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) is affecting us all. On a professional level our jobs have been majorly disrupted. Businesses begin to grapple with long term economic consequences. And on a personal level our daily routines have been limited, cut-off from friends and families, we are all concerned for our health and the health of our loved ones.
Which is why we all want to help in any way that we can in the fight against the virus.
Understanding the protein make-up and composition of coronavirus is essential to the development of a successful vaccine. Across the world, high-performance supercomputers are being hammered as we speak, by research groups and data analysts who are working around the clock to combat the coronavirus pandemic – simulating the virus using advanced AI and machine learning techniques. However, the vital compute resource needed during this global emergency is overstretched and more computation power is needed worldwide.
Here is where you, and your computer, can help!
By downloading and running Stanford University’s Folding@home software, your computer pools with tens of thousands of others to create a supercomputer built to fight coronavirus. The concept is known as distributed computing, where individual computers solve small computation tasks that are combined to solve the bigger, complex problem.
The best bit is, that it’s so easy to run. You don’t need to be a techie to get it!
Instructions on how to install the Folding@home app on your home computer can be found here and the relevant installer packages are here.
For those with lucky enough to own High-Performance Compute (HPC) or cloud resource, we’ve even documented instructions for running Folding@home on CentOS 7 here.
For those non HPC admins and anyone using SLURM, we’ve documented instructions here.
What is Folding@home?
Researchers at Stanford University have created a crowdsourced distributed computing platform called Folding@home which works by connecting the unused processing power of laptops, desktop computers and gaming consoles as well as HPC, all over the world. Once connected to each other, these remote resources create a virtual supercomputer which can be used by COVID-19 researchers.
From Folding@home director Greg Bowman “By downloading Folding@Home, you can donate your unused computational resources to the Folding@home Consortium, where researchers working to advance our understanding of the structures of potential drug targets for 2019-nCoV that could aid in the design of new therapies. The data you help us generate will be quickly and openly disseminated as part of an open science collaboration of multiple laboratories around the world, giving researchers new tools that may unlock new opportunities for developing lifesaving drugs.”
How is vScaler helping?
vScaler has teamed up with partners BIOS IT and Boston Ltd. to donate over 25,000 core compute hours per week, using some of our unallocated space in our public cloud data centre. We’re also imploring our customers with additional compute resource they can spare to do the same. Our experts estimate that the typical HPC customer is only using 80%-90% of their total cluster performance at any one time. We are reaching out to or customers to collectively target these CPU and GPU cores.
Hopefully together we can end the pandemic sooner.