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Old 11-19-2006, 09:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 14,559

basically, your body needs to make lots of proteins. your DNA instructs your body to do so, and how.

after the cells make a protein, it folds itself to form a certain shape (depending on the protein) - enzymes are proteins, which really need to have a specific shape

although the protein sometimes doesn't fold properly

so stanford university wants to use computing power to simulate how the proteins fold themselves, or misfold.
only, the amount of processing power required is simply enormous, and it would be really really expensive to make a supercomputer powerful enough for it.

instead, they've decided to let volunteers donate their CPU power to the project.
if you have hundreds of thousands of volunteers, that's a lot of processing power

essentially, folding@home is a program which joins your computer into a giant cluster of other computers for their processing power, so they can try and succsessfully simulate how a lot of the body's proteins fold and misfold

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