Cosm and Folding@home, 1999-...

Proteins are the basis of how biology gets things done. For this reason, people have sequenced the human genome -- the blueprint for all of the proteins in biology. But how can we understand what these proteins do and how they work? One important step is to study how proteins self-assemble, or "fold." This is an extremely computationally intensive task, since proteins fold no slower than a 10 microseconds (10^-6 seconds), but we can only routinely simulate nanoseconds (10^-9 seconds).

Folding@home has developed a new way to simulate protein folding which can break the microsecond barrier by dividing the work between multiple processors. By using the CS-SDK to create the Folding@home clients and server they have seen a near linear speed curve. As the number of processors increases so does the speed with which we they fold. Thus, with thousands of processors, we can break the microsecond barrier and unlock the mystery of how proteins fold.

The CS-SDK (a part of the Cosm project) provides the core components of the Folding@home client. The CS-SDK manages the sharing of data between multiple processors across different platforms. Buy using the CS-SDK they have saved many man-months of time, and most platform and porting issues are eliminated almost completely.


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