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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

7.5.1, released 2018-05-31

Folding at Home (stylized Folding@home, abbreviated FAH/F@H) is a computer program developed by a group at Stanford University's Pande Laboratory lead by Vijay Pande 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, which runs in the background off unused resources to complete work units while having minimal impact on performance.[2] Work units are automatically received from Stanford's servers and contain protein data varying in size that a device will process. 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.[3] In order to immensely speed up this process, Professor Vijay Pande and members of Pande's Laboratory proposed an idea of expanding it to a far larger number, with Pande stating in a 2007 interview: "...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.". The group began developing the software that summer and released it as "Folding@home" in October, with between 5,000 and 10,000 users installing the program in the next few months.

Stanford later announced in August 2006 that Folding at Home would be added in the 1.6 update for PlayStation 3's,[4] , the first computing project to be brought to the console, citing its powerful Cell processor.[5][6][7] The application was released on 2007-03-23 as a standalone client, though it was later combined into Life with PlayStation on 2008-09-18. The application received several updates over its first year, including Remote Play with the PSP, the ability to listen to music in the background and automatically shutting the console off after a specified period of time.[8] The client closed on 2012-11-08 after Life with PlayStation shut down. In the end, over 15 million consoles spent more than 100 million computation hours donating to Folding at Home during the five years it was available.[9][10]

Pande's Laboratory, Google and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology collaborated to build a Folding at Home client for the Google Chrome and Chromium browsers, which was released on 2014-02-24.[11] 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.[12]

Team Jiggmin

Main Article: Team_Jiggmin#Folding_at_Home

Jiggmin announced the formation of a Folding at Home group for the community in August 2008 before setting it up on the 17th.[13] Prizes for hats and extra ranks in Platform Racing 2 were later added in November to increase participation, which are awarded once users reach a certain amount of points. 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.[14]

References

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