The Unwired Medic

Teaching EMS providers & other public safety pros about using mobile tech to improve their practice, patient care, continuing education, scene safety, general entertainment, & productivity.

What Is Folding And Why You Should Be Doing It Too


Folding@Home LogoLend your PC, laptop, or Mac to the world’s largest medical computing supercomputers and help find cures and treatments…

What is it?

This project can help medical research scientists processĀ protein folding data and molecular dynamic simulations via the use of “crowd-sourcing” their data processing needs, benefiting things like cancers, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Ebola, and even for COVID-19 research. It actually isn’t really new. It’s been around for a while, but it really hasn’t gained notoriety until the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-19) pandemic hit and ordinary people were looking to do anything they could to help out. You may have heard of something like it even 20 years ago when SETI had a tool called SETI@Home and it was helping them process radio signals being received on the world’s radio telescopes far faster than even the fastest and largest of the world’s supercomputers, in the search for signs of Extra Terrestrial life.

Just how big is this? Why should I join in?

To give you an idea of the massive computer power you can contribute to here, this crowd-sourcing of computing resources has created a distributed computing system that absolutely dwarfs the speed and capabilities of several of the worlds largest supercomputers COMBINED – these computers fill giant rooms at places like the Oak Ridge National Labs in Tennessee (think IBM’s Watson and Summit).

Basically, install a small app that runs in the background on your computer and you can choose a few tweaks such as only when your computer is idle (great if you have a slower computer or are a heavy data user) or all the time (most computers have more than enough CPU and graphics processor time to spare and you won’t even notice). It’s gained a bit of attention recently thanks to some viral sharing on Reddit, from NVIDIA, and more, having jumped from only about 30k contributors at the beginning of March to now over 1 Million as of March 31st!!! They have more participants than resources, so now they are in need of hardware donations to the core systems lab and funds to run it and purchase additional bandwidth to run. Some users with large connections are even donating their bandwidth to help offset. Me, I’m sitting at home with a desktop server running 48GB of ECC RAM, dual Xeon E5620 processors, and both a 4GB and 2GB nVidia graphics cards, so I have compute space to share for days while watching web streamed training or entertainment. Why not put that to use, right?

When you install it, you can run it anonymously, or set up as a user for points. I created a team you can join for bragging rights too, The Unwired Medic (how original, right?). To join the team you will need to enter Team Number 258232 on the web control configuration box. Make your app more secure by getting their Passkey. That’s also super easy. Click a link, send them your name and email and they email you an alphanumeric string that you copy and paste in the web control configuration box. Easy peasy. They have a great FAQ and support forum too.

Join in and help support medical research without spending a dime, and you too can become a motherfolder!

Ready to start?

Great! Click here and it will detect your system and offer the appropriate installer. Don’t forget to join The Unwired Medic Team (#258232) and rack up some points with me!

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