Author Topic: Why we fold  (Read 1460 times)

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Offline Sìkat

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Why we fold
« on: March 14, 2012, 11:05:23 am »
Since we have a thread for excuses for NOT folding, I figured I'd start one on why people DO fold.

For me, it's very simple: A couple of years ago, my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  As an intellectual, I firmly believe that having your memories taken from you is one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a person.  My family and I have watched as this horrible, horrible disease takes its toll on him.  My mother is currently caring for both of her parents, and we are fortunate in that most of the family lives in the same town (or within a 2-hour drive) and can help her out easily.

I discovered [email protected] just after discovering LN, and I jumped right in after reading about the project and its goals.  As we know, protein folding (more specifically, MISfolding) plays a role in Alzheimer's disease, and research is ongoing in this area.  Donating the spare cycles on my computers towards this research is one of the easiest ways I can think of to contribute.

Offline Payoang

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 11:34:23 am »
Since we have a thread for excuses for NOT folding, I figured I'd start one on why people DO fold.

For me, it's very simple: A couple of years ago, my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  As an intellectual, I firmly believe that having your memories taken from you is one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a person.  My family and I have watched as this horrible, horrible disease takes its toll on him.  My mother is currently caring for both of her parents, and we are fortunate in that most of the family lives in the same town (or within a 2-hour drive) and can help her out easily.

I discovered [email protected] just after discovering LN, and I jumped right in after reading about the project and its goals.  As we know, protein folding (more specifically, MISfolding) plays a role in Alzheimer's disease, and research is ongoing in this area.  Donating the spare cycles on my computers towards this research is one of the easiest ways I can think of to contribute.

Same story here. My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's when I was 6. My grandfather cared for her for the next 6 years, by himself, at his home.

I'm no scientist, nor have significant funds to donate to research, so a few CPU cycles here and there makes me feel I'm at least contributing to a cure.

Offline Reykoveyzä te Werufalä Haflak'ite

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 02:22:57 pm »
what is [email protected]? i hear people talking about a lot, but i dont know what it is. and whats a CPU cycle?
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Offline Ningey

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 01:05:33 pm »
what is [email protected]? i hear people talking about a lot, but i dont know what it is. and whats a CPU cycle?

[email protected] is a scientific research project on finding out how a given polypeptide is folding up - to see what molecule structure is resulting in the end.
That way scientists hope to discover the internals of how enzyme structures, etc. come into existence.
I remember that they (with the aid of [email protected]) already have found something that is somehow linked to AIDS, but unfortunately I don't have the source at my fingertips - I'm going to see if I can provide more detail on this.

And for your second question: A CPU cycle is the time frame in which the CPU can perform an atomar action, i. e. execute a machine instruction, fetch data from memory or write it back, communicate with hardware devices - even waitstates when more complex operations require completion (i. e. more complex machine instructions that cannot be completed within one cycle). However, depending on the clock speed, the operational speed of a CPU varies - and since most of the time the computer sits idle waiting for input, you can use these idle cycles to perform other tasks - like calculating for [email protected] ;) (In fact, any CPU time allocated to the Idle task is wasted).

Since we have a thread for excuses for NOT folding, I figured I'd start one on why people DO fold.

For me, it's very simple: A couple of years ago, my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  As an intellectual, I firmly believe that having your memories taken from you is one of the most horrifying things that can happen to a person.  My family and I have watched as this horrible, horrible disease takes its toll on him.  My mother is currently caring for both of her parents, and we are fortunate in that most of the family lives in the same town (or within a 2-hour drive) and can help her out easily.

I discovered [email protected] just after discovering LN, and I jumped right in after reading about the project and its goals.  As we know, protein folding (more specifically, MISfolding) plays a role in Alzheimer's disease, and research is ongoing in this area.  Donating the spare cycles on my computers towards this research is one of the easiest ways I can think of to contribute.
Protein misfolding is the primary reason for Alzheimer, but a certain punctual mutation is able to promote this condition (because it's easier for the prions to fold the wrong way, i. e. as a layered instead of a helical structure).

If this way a cure CAN be found someday, it's well worth the effort - and not only as far as Alzheimer is concerned, but for other defects and malfunctions as well (cystic fibrosis, diabetes, cancer, and many other things). That's the reason why I have resumed folding - and once I'm capable to ramp up my calculation power, I'm going to do so.


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Offline Blue Elf

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 02:23:02 am »
I was sequentially member of more computing projects - [email protected], then climateprediction.net, now [email protected]
To the first one brought me colleagues from my office - we have run seti software on all available computer in our company and we raced who takes more points. After original seti client moved to Boinc platform, I switched project to something more useful, what research of the weather and climate is. But after I came here, I decided to support our team and IMHO research related to Alzheimer's disease is even more useful. If we can't predict weather, nothing important happens, but when we can defeat Alzheimer's disease by some way, it can save lives - and possibly also our owns. That is good reason to fold, IMO
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Offline bommel

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 06:30:06 pm »
I was folding for several teams before. I don't know exactly when I started but I know I used my old Compaq DL360 G2 server with dual Pentium III-S @ 1.4 GHz with two uniprocessor clients... well, this was rather slow ^^

Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 01:46:14 am »
And for your second question: A CPU cycle is the time frame in which the CPU can perform an atomar action, i. e. execute a machine instruction, fetch data from memory or write it back, communicate with hardware devices - even waitstates when more complex operations require completion (i. e. more complex machine instructions that cannot be completed within one cycle). However, depending on the clock speed, the operational speed of a CPU varies - and since most of the time the computer sits idle waiting for input, you can use these idle cycles to perform other tasks - like calculating for [email protected] ;) (In fact, any CPU time allocated to the Idle task is wasted).

I never knew about the part in bold, which brings up this question: what happens when other programs need CPU power?  Is [email protected] ranked below other applications for priority?

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Offline bommel

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 04:13:23 am »
I never knew about the part in bold, which brings up this question: what happens when other programs need CPU power?  Is [email protected] ranked below other applications for priority?
Exactly. The CPU client has a very low priority. For example, I can play games while folding with the SMP client (but then completing a WU takes much longer of course). Unfortunately this doesn't work with the GPU client as GPUs don't have this process model stuff CPUs/OS use.

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 11:51:18 am »
I figure if I have an expensive $1200 PC I might as well use that power for something other than work and gaming.

Offline Ikxeru

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Re: Why we fold
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 06:00:45 am »
I figure if I have an expensive $1200 PC I might as well use that power for something other than work and gaming.
I second this. I have a powerful machine at hand in the office, used for database management for half an hour or so per day with full force and the rest of the day it's nearly in idle state (exept from posting here and some trips to Pandora in SL in the evening hours now and then after closing-time ;D). *looks conspiratively around to see  if the boss is near while posting this*
Compute for a greater good! Join LN's [email protected]!


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