How you can help cure diseases
14 February 2007
How would you like to effortlessly help scientists cure diseases like Alzheimer's, Cancer, Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's and others? There is one very neat way - by donating your idle computer time.
Most home computer users utilize only a small percentage of the processing power their computer is capable of. The typical tasks like writing documents, using email, browsing the internet, or listening to music, only uses a small part of your computer's capabilities. Even if you work in front of the computer for a whole day, your computer is mostly idle.
All this unused computer processing power can be put to good use if you donate it to a project that needs it. There are many projects around the world which have huge amounts of data to process but lack the computer processing power. That's where distributed computing comes in. People from through out the world help make one of the largest supercomputers on the planet - by simply donating their own unused computer time.
For the past five years I have been donating my idle computer time to Folding@Home. A Stanford University project "...dedicated to understanding protein folding, the diseases which result from protein misfolding and aggregation, and novel computational ways to develop new drugs in general.".
Donating your idle computer time is easy. All you have to do is download the software and run it. The software client runs in the background and only uses your computer when you are not using it - thus there is no slow down of its operation. The cool thing is that you don't have to join anything or setup any accounts, and you can participate anonymously. Both command line and graphical clients are provided for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. And who knows, by helping out, it just may be that you will be saving your own life! Here is how to start.
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