Folding@home 2.0 is ready for download, and Mac OS X graphical user interface and command line interface clients are now available for the first time.
Folding@home is a distributed computing project in the same spirit as SETI@home. But rather than analyzing radio telescope signals to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, Folding@home has a more down-to-earth purpose: The goal of the project is to analyze how proteins self-assemble — a process molecular biologists call “folding.” Each client downloads a small amount of data, processes it, and then uploads that data back to the Folding@home server.
Understanding how the process works can help biologists understand how certain diseases work, and may ultimately lead to breakthroughs in the nascent field of nanotechnology. Folding@home, a project created by the Pande Group, seeks to help understand this process by speeding simulation by distributing the computational analysis needed to do it out among thousands of Internet-connected computers, rather than just relying on a single supercomputer or an array of expensive computers.
So, if you’re interested in helping out, drop by the Folding@home Web site and check it out.