Your Computer Can Help Solve The World’s Greatest Questions

During the beginning of the pandemic, I was sitting at home and doing nothing. I felt helpless. I was not one to bake bread. However, I did want to do something, anything, to feel like I was helping to get us back to normal. Let me digress a little, I’m not sure its always a positive trait, being a problem solver. It requires you to own a little responsibility of the problem, and that can bring on a lot of stress. That being said, I did start sewing a little more, made a few cloth masks. I sold one, donated the rest. Then I stumbled on something that gave me a lot of hope. Folding at home.

Folding at home is a Stanford run project that allows you to donate your computer’s power, aka CPU cycles, to finding potential cures and/or treatments for many diseases. These computations require a lot of processing power to solve. You can choose the illnesses you wish to help fight, or you can let it pick for you. Naturally, I chose covid-19 since it was greatly affecting everyone’s lives. The covid pandemic gave this project a lot of coverage and many have since jumped on the bandwagon. Parkinson’s is another example of a major disease folding at home focuses on as well.

If you decide that you’d like to help out the folding at home project, see the link posted earlier, you might find yourself spending a lot of time hypnotized by the real time protein building models displayed on your screen. It also comes with a free screen saver that looks pretty cool too. All your smart friends will be jealous! The great thing about these kind of projects is that you can determine just how frequent and how much of your computer’s power you want to donate. There is no minimal requirement provided you meet the minimum needed to run the application.

Is folding at home the only way to help? Lately, a lot of news has been flooded with data coming from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and its been nothing short of brilliant. After reading that scientists have discovered the oldest galaxy on record, which was formed just 300 million years after the big bang, I thought to myself maybe there are some other projects like Folding at home that I can volunteer to help with these types of discoveries. Low and behold there are quite a few! To learn about these other cool projects you can view this article here. Some projects help find discoveries in physics, alien life, and cancer treatments, just to name a few. The fabulous thing is that letting your computer do all the work allows you to help while you work, run errands, sleep, jog. Whatever your fancy! Whenever you want! That’s a sweet deal.

Do you already donate your CPU’s cycles? Do you know of any projects not mentioned here or in the linked article? I would really love to learn what your donating to and why in the comments!

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