What you need to know
- Folding@home now has approximately 2.4 exaFLOPS of processing power.
- That combined total is more than the top 500 supercomputers in the world put together.
- Folding@home uses the donated processing power to battle coronavirus (COVID-19) and other diseases.
Folding@home now has a combined processing power of approximately 2.4 exaFLOPS. That power is more than the top 500 supercomputers in the world put together and 15 times faster than the fastest supercomputer on Earth, the IBM Summit. Rather than building a single supercomputer, Folding@home relies on donated processing power from people's computers around the world. That power is then utilized to combat diseases such as coronavirus (COVID-19) and Alzheimer's. Folding@home shared the milestone on Twitter earlier this week.
Battling a disease such as coronavirus requires various different methods of study. The massive combined processing power of Folding@home is used to model proteins related to the disease. Proteins move and form an incredibly high number of shapes, and all of them need to be studied. When Folding@home joined the fight against coronavirus, it explained how processing power can be used:
Proteins are not stagnant—they wiggle and fold and unfold to take on numerous shapes. We need to study not only one shape of the viral spike protein but all the ways the protein wiggles and folds into alternative shapes in order to best understand how it interacts with the ACE2 receptor, so that an antibody can be designed.
Since Folding@home began working on coronavirus, its power has skyrocketed. On March 23, 2020, Folding@home's combined processing power was 470 petaFLOPS, which was more than the world's top seven supercomputers. Now, at 2.4 exaFLOPS, it's more than the top 500 supercomputers. One exaFLOP is the equivalent of 1,000 petaFLOPS, meaning the combined processing power jumped by almost 2,000 petaFLOPS in just over a few weeks.