Going for maximum visibility, so I'll go ahead and post this here for all two of my followers.
ANYWAYS I’m going to go ahead and put the tl;dr first, 'cause this one is gonna be a doozy. This is an older writeup, but has been made re-important for our top-200 competition and a shot at free games, engraved trinkets, and PLUSHIES. Be sure to post on the forums to register for the competition starting July 1st.
THE TL;DR: our team number is 212997, get the program here or the better one here, then meet up with the rest of us at the forums here. Be sure to put in your username (any will do) and our team number (212997) when installing.
Team? Folding? Oatmeal? Here’s the deal-
Foldinghome is the worlds largest distributed computing project, designed to simulate the process of protein assembly (or protein folding.) Having an accurate simulation of this process allows biomedical researchers to better understand the development of the world’s most challenging diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, HIV, various cancers, etc. While, to my knowledge, Foldinghome has yet to directly lead to a cure for any of these (which is why we still hear about them,) it is empowering scientists with a greater understanding, which will lead to drugs and treatments in the future. It was Sun Tzu that said “Know thine enemy,” right? Right. There have been breakthroughs with Foldinghome results, which only Twilight Sparkle herself could interpret, but anyone up to the challenge can read up on them here.
Normally these sorts of computations and simulations are run on supercomputers. Big rooms full of towering monstrosities that make you wonder why we aren’t going to the moon once a month. Japan is working on one that can crunch out something like 10 petaFLOPS, or ten-thousand-trillion calculations per second. It’s not quite done yet, so the previous record holder was about 2.5 petaFLOPS by one in China. These machines are insanely expensive to build and run, among other limitations, so the eggheads at Stanford developed a different approach. They tooled their simulations so they can be run on just about anything, then broke it up into thousands of tiny pieces to run one at a time, then made a program so anyone can take one of the pieces and return the result. Then they put them all end to end and get Science. As of November of last year, Foldinghome has a combined processing power of over 6 petaFLOPS, and there are a number of Bronyfolk that help make that possible. AND SO CAN YOU!
How? Easy. What happens is you download and install the Foldinghome client, make up a username, plug in the team number, then do what you normally do. Yes its that simple. Foldinghome takes advantage of processor scheduling to run at the lowest possible priority, meaning you theoretically wont even know it’s running. I’ve played Battlefield 3, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Portal 2, (edit- Diablo 3 too!) all while folding, and the only one that was impacted was texture loading in Battlefield 3. A lot of you guys play Skyrim, and looking at the specs for that you guys will probably be in the same boat saying "no sweat." Last night I rendered video in Adobe Premiere while folding. I CAN EVEN BROWSE REDDIT WHILE FOLDING. In fact, I bet most people here have several hours, if not most of the day, worth of 100% available Folding time, due to biological needs like sleep or obligations such as work and school. Turn it on, go about your business, and feel better about yourself for contributing. And for those of us using laptops or slide rulers, Foldinghome will run on a Pentium III, which has less horsepower than a basic Smartphone nowadays. If you can view HD videos on Youtube, your computer can handle this. Mind your batteries though.
Still reading? Then you’re probably sold on the idea. Head on over to the download page and grab the appropriate flavor of client. I personally suggest getting the version 7 beta because you don't have to speak Matrix to use it and it combines all types of available folding in a hard-to-mess-up way. Speaking of, anyone with a modern GPU can fold with that as well, along with PS3 owners! Be sure to plug in the team number, 212997, in whatever client you end up using. It should be noted that this will increase the power used and heat produced by your machine, so anyone overclocking should be *absolutely certain* of stability, otherwise you’re liable to crash all day. Stress test using Prime95 or LINPACK, ideally over a 24 hour period to catch all possible temperature variations. Also your power bill will increase a little bit as well, but no price is too high for Ponies! er, science.
Bonus! As a top-500 (in the world!) team we get advanced statistics tracking through ExtremeOverclocking, so now we can compete with one another for just how *nice* we can be. Its like a metagame that you don't even have to play to win at! For instance, check me out! I'm not winning though