Folding@home... On Your Phone?

Remember back a few years ago when Folding@home was all the rage? It seems like every message board had a team, and there was some pretty fierce competition not just between teams but between team members to see who could rack up the most points. And, you know, help cure cancer in the process, of course. And then it sort of faded into the background, and while the projects are still ongoing nobody talked about it any more, the teams all fell by the wayside, and maybe the cure for cancer was lost.

OK, so I was being a bit melodramatic with that last one, but you know what I mean.

I recently discovered Folding@home is still very alive and well, and PCs across the world are churning out projects and people are gaining points just like always. You can download the software to your PC regardless of what kind of OS you’re using, or you can run it in your browser if you’re using Google Chrome. And now they’re adding another way you can help: an app! At the moment, the app is in beta testing and is only compatible with select Sony smartphones, but they’re hoping to make it available for all phones running Android 4.4 or later some time this year.

All you have to do is go to the Play Store and download the app, then follow the directions. I don’t pretend to understand all the science involved, but in the case of breast cancer research, it takes about 300,000 nanoseconds to fold one kinase, and your phone can simulate about 1 nanosecond per day. The ultimate goal here is if 10,000 phones work the app eight hours a day, then Stanford can finish simulating the kinase protein within three months.

The app only runs when you sleep and are not using your phone, so it won’t interfere with your normal use. When you’re awake and using your phone, it transfers the project to another phone that is not in use. I can’t find information on how this might affect your data usage, but it really doesn’t seem like it would be much. Check out the video for more detail:

If you’ve got one of the Sony phones with which the beta version is compatible, you can download it now in the Play Store. If you’re using some other kind of Android phone, you’ll have to wait for it to come out later this year. No word on whether they’re working on an app for iOS or not. Regardless, you can download now (or just run in your browser, as I do every time I sit down for a while) and help find a cure for various cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and a few other nasty diseases.


Source: Gizmodiva

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