A few days ago we discovered a cool project run by Stanford University called Folding@Home. It allows you to donate your unused computer processing power to help with medical research. The research helps with research on cancer, Alzheimers, AIDS, Parkinsons and many more diseases. The calculations simulate protein folding, a process whereby proteins assemble themselves into tools which your body can use.
We don’t pretend to understand the medical science behind all of this, but thankfully we don’t have to. The main Stanford server sends a bunch of calculations for your computer to do, then your computer sends back the results. The server receives the results and sends another chunk of work. This all happens behind the scenes without any input from you.
There are thousands of people all over the world doing this but it adds up to just a fraction of the number of computers Stanford need. It’s a piece of cake to setup and should take you less than 5 minutes. Read more and sign up at the Stanford folding homepage. If you like, you can join the Phoenix Web Development team we’ve created by using team number 230741 when you sign up.
We’re also working on a small WordPress plugin so that contributors can post their stats up on their own WordPress site. At present there is no easy way to do this and Stanford don’t have an API to easily query these stats. The skeleton of that plugin shows the stats for our team in the table above. So stay tuned for that.