What your Folding WUs are doing

Discussion in 'Distributed Computing' started by Durandal7, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    I have looked into the practical applications of Folding since most people seem to be at a loss for just what good our WUs are doing:

    Folding is just the process that occurs when all the atoms bond and form a protein. The computers in the project are running simulations into how the atoms combine.

    There are several very promising uses for this. First off, it is worth noting that not every protein in the Folding project has been a natural one. Several of the Folding simulations have been on synthetic molecules that are able to fold into useful structures like tubules. Nano-technologists take note.

    Secondly, many diseases wreak their havoc by halting or disrupting the natural Folding process. If we figure out exactly how they disrupt this Folding process then we may find potential methods of combating them.

    Now those both look good on a Doctoral thesis, but they have not been put to real world use as of yet. There is something that Folding is being used for that has very real results that will affect us all within the decade.

    That is the Genome project.

    Most genes contain blueprints for proteins. We don't know a damn thing about most of these proteins. The Genome project will churn out a molecule that we know nothing about. Folding tells us a great deal about the proteins by telling us how they form, in turn we may predict how they will interact with other proteins.

    There is a reason that Genome@Home is part of Folding@Home.
  2. macrumors 65816


    Mar 7, 2003
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2003
    Meadville, PA
    Thanks, I was wondering about that when I started
  4. pEZ
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Maybe that should be added to the FAQ, like in a separate post. It might be a better explanation than "Folding helps cure diseases."
  5. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Didn't everyone know this?

    I mean besides from helping the team I wanted to know what the hell I'm doing... :eek:
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    It goes both ways...

    In the wrong hands, folding data could be used to create new and incurable diseases as well as curing our (currently) incurable diseases. Just like nuclear power/bombs and all other 'great' technologies, with the good comes the bad. Nanotechnology sounds great, but it also scares the hell out of me: read "Prey" by Michael Crichton and you'll understand what I mean.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2003
    Meadville, PA
    Re: It goes both ways...

    I've never thought of it that way... but I see your point

  8. Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Just finished reading Prey this weekend, and yeah nanotech in the wrong hands will be disastrous.

    Thanks for the analysis, Durandal7.

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