Folding@home ends after 15 million users and 100 million computation hours


If you’ve ever logged into Folding@home then well done you: the distributed computing initiative has contributed hugely to research into cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza and countless other drug treatments. Now, after 5 years, it’s coming to an end.

Folding@Home’s big science

The service will be finishing with the upcoming 4.30 firmware update. That will remove Life with PlayStation, of which Folding is a part. PS3 Brand Manager Leon Sanders said, “More than 15 million users have participated in the program since it started on PS3 in 2007. PS3 users have donated in total more than 100 million computation hours to the Folding@home project to date, and as a result, contributed greatly to Stanford University’s Alzheimer’s disease research.

Vijay Pande is the research lead at Stanford University and said, “For several years, we have worked closely with Sony to bring Folding@home to the PS3. We’re excited about what we’ve been able to do. Since the PS3 started folding in 2007, we’ve done some really amazing things, with several announcements this year acknowledging advancements in Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, Influenza, Type II Diabetes, and other new drug targets”.

The research has had real benefits too. “We have had numerous successes in recent years, says Pande. “Specifically, in a paper just published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, we report on tests of predictions from earlier Folding@home simulations, and how these predictions have led to a new strategy to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The next steps, now underway at Stanford, are to take this lead compound and help push it towards a viable drug. It’s too early to report on our preliminary results there, but I’m very excited that the directions set out in this paper do appear to be bearing fruit in terms of a viable drug (not just a drug candidate).”

Thanks EU Blog and Vijay Pande.