This page is for the folding at home project, and in particular the 'h2g2 researchers folding team', a team of h2g2 reseachers involved in the project. Below, there is some explanation of what the project is all about, as well as instructions on joining the team.
About the folding at home project
What does the project involve?
The folding at home project is a reseacher project, that uses computers to simulate protein folding. Protein folding, is the process whereby chains of amino acids, that are the building blocks of protiens, form up into useable proteins. These proteins perform many of the functions of the body.
What good will the project do
Proteins perform a number of functions in the lifeforms on this planet. Therefore, this project, by helping the understanding of protein folding, will contribute to our knowledge of biology.
Also, many diseases, including Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease, are caused by 'mis-folds', where a protein doesn't form properly. Understanding how protein folding happens may well help us to understand why mis-folds happen, and possibly help to find ways of preventing these diseases.
Another benefit of the research will be that in finding out more about natural proteins and how they fold, we might be able to find out how to make our own synthetic proteins, which could help in nanotechnology (technology at a very small scale).
How does the system work>
The Folding at home project uses what is known as distributed computation. This idea means that the large task of simulating protein folding is divided into smaller units that are run on the computers of people who contribute. The program that folding at home uses can run at the same time as other programs without slowing them significantly.
Contributing to the project
To contribute to the project, you need a computer with an internet connection, running either Windows(Windows 95' or later), or Linux or Mac OS X. If you have these then follow these instructions to contribute
I You first need to download the client program, from this page:
http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html, and then run the installation program, or unzipping the file, as per the installation instructions at the link above. The installation instructions should be all you need to set up the program, although some things are worth noting
The system may ask you for a name, when you first run the program. If you enter one, then the points you earn for contribution (purely for enjoyment, with no prizes awards), will be accumulated under that name. Also, the system works by downloading units of work, that are run, and then sent back, and a new unit downloaded. You therefore need to have an internet connection available at the time. The default setup assumes that you always have a connection avaiable, so will cause problems if you have a dialup connection. In this case, click configure on the system menu, and tick the 'Ask before using network' option, so the program will tell you when it needs to go on the internet. If you have an always on connection, then leave this blank
The h2g2 team
I have set up a team for folding at home, that you can contribute to. Everytime you finish a unit, you get points for completing it. As a member of the h2g2 team, called 'h2g2 researchers folding team', these points will also be added to the team's score. The team I have set up, as the title suggests, is meant for h2g2 researchers, who want to contribute to the project.
How to join the team
To join the group, first open your [email protected] program. Then right click in the window, and select configure, and change the team number to 2879, and click OK. When you do this, any units you complete after this will be registered to the h2g2 researchers folding team, and added to the tea, total, as well as to your own personal total.
A list of team members
If you are contributing to the team, as outlined above, and want your name listed here, then please post a message, with your h2g2 nickname, and the name you use for [email protected], if it is different from your h2g2 nickname.Silverfish
King Cthulhu of Balwyniti
tonderai (wearing an itchy baobab hat)
If anyone has any suggestions to improve the page, or the group, let me know, and the same applies if you have anything else to say. In particular, if anyone is feeling artistic, and feels like producing a logo, then let me know, and we can arrange something. If Anyone want to know about [email protected], then the best place to look is the Folding at home website below: