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Folding at Home
Folding at Home logo
Folding at Home's logo.

Author

Vijay S. Pande

URL

https://folding.stanford.edu/

Type of Program

Distributed program

Release Date

2000-10-01

Current Version

7.4.4, released 2014-03-19

Folding at Home (stylized Folding@home, abbreviated FAH/F@H) is a program developed by a group lead by Vijay Pande at Stanford University's Pande Laboratory that simulates protein folding as a method to research and potentially discover cures for various diseases.[1]

Volunteers from around the world have installed the software found on Stanford's website,[2] which runs in the background off unused resources on their devices to complete work units while having minimal impact on performance.[3] Work units contain protein data varying in size that a user's device will process and are automatically received from Stanford's servers. Completing work units awards the user points that are publicly displayed on Folding at Home's website.

History

In 2000, Stanford University had a single computer dedicated to researching cures for diseases through protein folding.[4] In order to immensely speed up this process, Professor Vijay Pande and members of Pande's Laboratory proposed an idea to expand it to an extremely large amount of computers, with Pande stating: "...instead of waiting a million days for one computer to get the problem done, [we could finish] in ten days on a hundred thousand computers." in a 2007 interview. The group began developing the software that summer and publicly released it as "Folding@home" in October, with between 5,000 and 10,000 users installing the program within the next few months.

In August 2006, Stanford announced that Folding at Home would be added as an application in the 1.6 update for PlayStation 3s[5] due to its powerful Cell processor[6][7], the first computing project to be brought to the console.[8] The application was released on 2007-03-23 as a standalone client, though it was later combined with Life with PlayStation on 2008-09-18. The application additionally received several updates over its first year, including abilities for playing remotely with PSP, automatically shutting the console off after a specified period of time, and listening to music in the background.[9] The client closed on 2012-11-08 after Life with PlayStation shut down, receiving over 15 million participating consoles over five years that spent 100 million computation hours donating to Folding at Home.[10][11]

Pande's Laboratory, Google, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology collaborated to build a Folding at Home client for Google Chrome and Chromium browsers that was released on 2014-02-24.[12] The client uses Google's Native Client (NaCl) technology and is the only version of the software to be entirely open sourced. Pande's Laboratory also announced intentions to bring Folding at Home to mobile platforms, with the first being released on the Google Play store for Android devices on 2015-07-07.[13]

Team Jiggmin

Main Article: Team_Jiggmin#Folding_at_Home

Jiggmin announced the formation of a Folding at Home group for the community named after his alias in August 2008 before setting it up on 2008-08-17.[14] Prizes for hats and extra ranks in Platform Racing 2 once users reached a certain amount of points were later added in November to increase participation. As of 2016-11-22, Team Jiggmin is ranked 92 out of 225,558 groups and has folded a total of 1,382,551,122 points.[15]

References

  1. https://folding.stanford.edu/home/about-us/
  2. https://folding.stanford.edu/
  3. http://www.hicomb.org/papers/HICOMB2009-13.pdf
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVVojA-5ijs
  5. http://web.archive.org/web/20071011020524/http://folding.stanford.edu/FAQ-PS3.html
  6. http://folding.stanford.edu/home/faq/faq-press/#ntoc21
  7. http://folding.stanford.edu/home/faq/faq-press/#ntoc25
  8. http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/07085/772011-96.stm
  9. http://web.archive.org/web/20120321180326/http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-PS3
  10. http://web.archive.org/web/20130705051902/http://www.playstation.com/life/en/index.html
  11. http://folding.typepad.com/news/2012/10/life-with-playstation-ending.html
  12. https://folding.stanford.edu/home/adding-a-completely-new-way-to-fold-directly-in-the-browser/
  13. https://folding.stanford.edu/home/first-full-version-of-our-foldinghome-client-for-android-mobile-phones/
  14. http://web.archive.org/web/20080818141911/http://jiggmin.com/forum/
  15. http://folding.extremeoverclocking.com/team_summary.php?s=&t=143016

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