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Folding At Home Extra Credit
What are proteins and why do they "fold"?

Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its " nanomachines ." Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or " fold ." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. Moreover, perhaps not surprisingly, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious effects, including many well-known diseases , such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, and Parkinson's disease.

What does Folding At Home do?

Folding At Home is a distributed computing project which studies protein folding , misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases . We use novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing, to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. This has allowed us to simulate folding for the first time, and to now direct our approach to examine folding related disease.

How can you help?

You can help our project by downloading and running our client software. Our algorithms are designed such that for every computer that joins the project, we get a commensurate increase in simulation speed.

Will this affect my computer?

No, Folding At Home runs in the background of your computer only when you are not using it. Think of it as a screen saver with a brain.

How will this benefit me?

Well, you will recieve two points of extra credit for signing up. Future extra credit will be determined as each new marking period ends. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping scientists understand the way proteins fold, and quite possibly helping to fight protein based diseases.

  1. Get permission from your parents to install this program.
  2. Download Folading At Home from the following site:
  3. Install the program.
  4. After the program has loaded, right click on the program and select “configure”.
  5. Enter your name as the user name in the following format “09_FirstName_LastName”.
  6. Enter the Team Number: 39244
  7. Allow the program to download the instructions and run.
  8. If you do not install the computer correctly, you will not receive any extra credit.
  9. Installation Instructions