You might already know, specially if a family member of yours is concerned, that many disease, like diabetes, Alzheimer's, and even some types of cancer are caused by misfolding of protein. What you might not know though, is that there is a concrete way that you can help find a cure.
For many years now, scientists have been simulating protein folding and misfolding to better understand diseases with computers, but it was fairly long for even a supercomputer to render a couple of those foldings. When considering the amount of molecular strands to be folded, it could be said without question that folding all proteins within a reasonable delay would be impossible. This is where Folding@Home comes in.
Folding@Home is an organization joint with Stanford University and many specialized companies and organizations on the medical scene that uses distributed computing to fold the said proteins faster and better, using the entire community's processing power instead of just one very expensive supercomputer. Anybody can participate: a client is available for almost every OS, and you can just download, install and go. The software then takes all the idle system resources, and uses it to calculate folding: meaning that under most circumstances, it won't render your machine useless while running. Of course, under some extreme conditions, like gaming on the newer games, IE: Crysis, and benchmarking, you wouldn't want it running, but as a general fact, any machine, whatever it's load is, can run Folding@Home. The work, calculated in work units, is sent to you via port 8080 (make you sure you unlock that port on your router and machine), you complete the unit, and send it back wherever it goes, and then all the medical researchers can has some fun analyzing it. Quite easy for something considered as collaboration to medical research, ain't it? You can even turn it into something to brag about: every work unit gives you so many points depending on how big it was, and with the points you can compete in teams and see who can fold the most.
I've been introduced to F@H by the team down at OCN, an overclocking forum which even made a giveaway out of folding. Either 20 or 10 dollars up for grabs each month, in some 3 categories, from memory.
It's so easy... why not? Get downloading and fold today!
Fold@Home Program Home Page