Cover image for Donate Your Unused CPU Cycles to Fight the Coronavirus

Donate Your Unused CPU Cycles to Fight the Coronavirus

jeremycmorgan profile image Jeremy Morgan Updated on ・3 min read

The Folding at Home research project uses crowdsourced CPU power to help model simulations to develop treatments for diseases. You can help them by taking 5 minutes to download their client and donate some CPU Cycles.

Edit: Our Team has grown to over 250 people!! So stoked about this!

For more info:

After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@home team has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes.

This initial wave of projects focuses on better understanding how these coronaviruses interact with the human ACE2 receptor required for viral entry into human host cells, and how researchers might be able to interfere with them through the design of new therapeutic antibodies or small molecules that might disrupt their interaction.

So how can you help? It's easy.

Step 1. Download the Folding@Home Client

You can download it here. They have clients for Windows, Mac, and several versions of Linux.

Run the Setup:

Start Folding At home

Choose "Express Install"

Start Folding At home

Setup is complete

Start Folding At home

Step 2: Configure your client

With the client loaded up, click on configure.

Start Folding At home

Here you can set your name (it can be anything), and your team.

If you want to join my team, it's 236359.

(If you beat my score for the month I'll send you a prize!!)

Start Folding At home

Once your client is set up, you can adjust the amount of CPU Power to use:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Full

Start Folding At home

There is also an icon in your taskbar. You can also set it to run while your computer is idle (recommended) or while you are working (runs all the time).

Start Folding At home

There is also a web client you can use to adjust those same settings:

Start Folding At home

And that's it!!

Make sure it's set to "fight any disease" to help out with the Coronavirus.

Start Folding At home

In Five Minutes You Can Help Fight This Disease!!

It's super easy to set up. I have it set up on my personal desktop, laptop, and web servers. Here are some things to keep in mind though:

  • If you have any problems with heat, you probably shouldn't use this program. Older computers or ones with cooling problems may not like it.

  • Do not run this on your work computer without permission! - Clear it with your employer before installing this program, they may not want you to do this.

  • You are helping!! - By doing this you're helping important research. There has been a huge uptick of new users (myself included) that are pitching in to help with this and we could be helping find a cure!

If you have any questions yell at me on Twitter or in the comments.

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Jeremy Morgan


Silicon Forest Developer/hacker. I write about .NET, DevOps, and Linux mostly. Once held the world record for being the youngest person alive.


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Thanks Derek! This seems to be trending to the point they are running out of work units but that's a good thing!


Yeah, I've had to bounce my fahclient a few times because of the servers being slammed and not being able to get work units. A good problem to have. Hope they have good folks around to help them scale. I wonder if there could be a virtual hackathon or something? haha


Really wanted to try things out but here are my first impressions,

  • Was not able to install it on my linux machine. Ubuntu Eoan 19.04LTS
  • Could not find the team JenemyMorgan, it says bad gateway.
  • Not sure where to report the issues related to installation. Instructions unclear.

I am pretty sure it'll work if I put my mind into it, but just sharing the experience.


Thanks for sharing. One issue they're having right now is being swamped with people. What error message are you getting with the install? If it's not getting any work units, that's normal right now. I'm barely seeing any available, and they're working on creating some more for us.

As far as the stats page, it's nearly always broken right now, it's overloaded as well. As long as you put 236359 in for the team name it will count your stats.


Latest Stats update!! 62 members on the team now! Thank you all so much for pitching in!!




Excellent! Does it work (the controller) with multiple instances?


Done and on the team, a worthy cause and something I always forget to think about. Thanks for the reminder.