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Folding@Home, Help speed up scientific research on curing COVID-19🦠

indigowizard profile image IndigoWizard Updated on ・5 min read

Staying home and ... do what?

Millions of people around the world follow govt's and WHO prevention guidelines such as staying at home so as not to act as a transmission factor which conveys the corona virus that cause COVID-19.

So, if you follow the containment procedure or by self-awareness, some of you may want to help in a more practical way (or got bored and don't know what to do). Here is one way you can really help speed up scientific research on COVID-19 in order to develop potential drug targets and design new therapeutic opportunities.

Folding @ Home Project !

Stanford University’s Folding@home project is seeking volunteers to help researchers develop treatment therapies for the novel corona virus.

Folding @ Home is a Standford University's distributed computing project that works as a crowdsourced computer network for massive calculations, which means it relies on volunteers users CPUs/GPUs calculation power on a global network.

Researchers are working on developing cures for COVID-19 and this goes by first understanding the protein structure of the potential drug target for COVID-19.

How does this project help?

As proteins help fighting disease by folding, there are many possibilities for folding structures of a single protein, so in order to find the right structure researchers run simulations based on immense calculations. These calculations are broken into "work units" that are passed to individual computers like ours, as gamers or simple PC user all over the world to help accelerate the process!

Okay my gaming machine is ready to report for duty (and my 5 yo laptop too...) How to do this?

Super quick guide:

  • Go to Folding @ Home
  • Download and install F@H on your machine (there are versions for different OS)
  • Launch the client
  • That's it, start folding and save the world!!

You can already start folding, anonymously or with a user ID, by yourself or in a team!
The more points a team earns, the closer researchers come to finding cures.

Join us at team Micro Club USTHB: 241540

Micro Club USTHB is a non profit organization and a scientific students club at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediène, Algeria.

Need a step by step guide? I gotcha!

Install F@H software

Step 1: Lunch the installer.exe and run the setup Step 2: Chose Express or Advanced (more options) Step 3: Lunch F@H

Client setup

Desktop client:

l - Desktop interface: Dashboard displaying basic informations like
- Folding speed
- The work Unit you are folding (Research project)
- Active ID currently using the client
2 - Configuration - ID config
- You can Fold anonymously or setup a User Name
- You can fold alone or join a team by setting the teams ID number.
Join our Student Scientific Club Team Micro Club USTHB: 241540
- A Passkey helps you make you User ID unique even if someone else uses same user name in order to gain bonus points as you fold!
3 - CPU/GPU config
- By default all values are setup to -1 so the client chooses automatically.
- I set my GPU = 1 to use my AMD R7 M445 GPU instead of Intel HD Graphics 620 which index = 0.
- Set a positive value on calculation library depending on your GPU:
4 - Research Subject Config
- Cause Preference lets you chose the research project you want to contribute to, leave it at "Any" in order to work on COVID-19 Cases.
- Tweak the Folding core priority depending on your PC and needs.
- Setup a power condition (useful on laptops) to stop the client if your machine is running on battery.

It is possible to visualize the protein molecular structure of the current work unit tour PC is processing but clicking on the icon labeled "Viewer".

You can also access the client through the Task Bar, which will give you the basic functions to run the software quickly.

Web client:

F@H software is a desktop client but it can also be accessed through web browser!

The interface is pretty self explanatory, it presents a compact version of the desktop client all in one.

  • You can Set or change your user & team ID.
  • You can check information about earner points and your team.
  • Setup Folding Power and client run mod (Always / When idle).
  • You can check information about the project you are contributing to currently.
  • IMPORTANT! Always leave the research tab set to "Any disease" category as COVID-19 related research work units flow through that thread since it doesn't have a dedicated tab. (different research work units will flow to your client, and so will COVID-19 related ones.)

More info

  • Get a Passkey to start earning bonus point as you fold.
  • Join a team to be more efficient.
  • If you're running F@H on your laptop while using it, it is suggested that you set Folding Power to Light.
  • If you're running F@H on your gaming tower and want to go full max Folding Power, optimize your client and PC configuration. Always keep an eye on your hardware if starts heating up or things slow down.
  • You can set the client to fold only when you're PC is idle and you're not using it.

Just think of it, you are contributing to scientific research on crucial projects even when you're doing nothing, how great is that!!

Here's a list of the project related to COVID-19, all flow through the "Any" category of research projects in the F@H software:

14530/14531: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) protease - potential drug target.
14328 - Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) protease - potential drug target
11741: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) receptor binding domain in complex with human receptor ACE2.
11746: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) receptor binding domain in complex with human receptor ACE2 (alternative structure to 11741).
11742: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) protease in complex with an inhibitor.
11743: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) protease – potential drug target.
11744: Coronavirus SARS-CoV (SARS causing virus) receptor binding domain trapped by a SARS-CoV S230 antibody.
11745: Coronavirus SARS-CoV (SARS causing virus) receptor binding domain mutated to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) trapped by a SARS-CoV S230 antibody.

List provided by pedro19 on r/pcmasterrace official subreddit.

Sources and useful links

Fold @ Home Project official website

Folding @ Home on Wikipedia

Coronavirus – What we’re doing and how you can help in simple terms

Folding@home takes up the fight against COVID-19 / 2019-nCoV

Folding@home update on SARS-CoV-2 (10 Mar 2020)

F@H Teams & general statisitics

Micro Club


Editor guide
katiachan profile image

How do you know that you're working on COVID-19 related projects ?
If you're running a project that's listed here, you're fighting COVID-19 :
CPU : 14328 - 14329 - 14340-14344-14530 - 14531
GPU : 11741 to 11781


indigowizard profile image
IndigoWizard Author

Thanks for the info, avoids confusion when folding on different processing units and end up with different project numbers ʕ˵•ᴥ•˵ʔ