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PROSTEP donates computing power for coronavirus simulations

By Rainer Bugow

Research into the coronavirus and possible therapies requires extremely computationally intensive computer simulations to analyze the dynamic behavior of the protein structures. We provide Foldig@home, a distributed computing project for the simulation of protein behavior, with the unused computing power of our in-house server cluster and encourage other companies to do the same.

Proteins are vital building blocks of our organism, but they are also used by viruses like Corona to weaken our immune system and reproduce in the lungs. Since the structures of proteins are constantly changing, their dynamic behavior must be simulated in order to develop possible therapies against the Corona virus, but also against other diseases. Particularly exciting is the process of protein folding into complex three-dimensional giant molecules, which - if it fails - can lead to cell damage and diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Since the simulation of protein behavior is extremely computationally intensive, several universities and research institutes started a distributed computing project a few years ago. It is called Folding@home, alluding to the process of protein folding, and brings together "citizen scientists" who voluntarily carry out simulations of protein dynamics on their computers. Under the motto "I Am One in A Million", the consortium led by the University of Washington encourages everyone to donate their unneeded computing power.

PROSTEP has recently become one of the "Folder”. Around 10 to 20 percent of our computing power is used every night to simulate protein chains. The solution is absolutely secure because the Folding@home application runs on a virtual machine in the DMZ, the so-called Demilitarized Zone. We would like to encourage other companies and private individuals to do the same and donate their unused computing power for a good cause. Just download the software here https://foldingathome.org/start-folding.

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