Stanford has a protein project that is using distributed computing over the Internet. If you want to get involved there’s a client for Mac OS X.
Folding@home ” project is designed to help understand protein folding. Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves — or “fold,” a process that remains a mystery. When proteins don’t fold correctly, there can be serious effects, including many well-known diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow (CJD), ALS and Parkinson’s disease.
Folding@Home is a distributed computing project that studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation and related diseases. It uses computational methods and large scale distributed computing to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. This has let them simulate folding for the first time. Now they’re working to examine folding related diseases.
Mac OS X users can help the project by downloading and running the client software. The folks behind Folding@Home say “our algorithms are designed such that for every computer that joins the project, we get a commensurate increase in simulation speed.”
MacCentral also has a Folding@home team — you can find
more information and sign-up for the MacCentral team online.