As the crisis of COVID-19 grips the world, we can’t help but be comforted that we’re all in this together.
Many of us are doing what we can to stop the spread of infection by washing our hands frequently, practicing social distancing, self-quarantining, or abiding by lockdowns. This newfound sense of isolation leaves many of us wondering what we could do to help out in this time of great need. The answer to that lies in coming together, albeit virtually, and donating unused computational power to help researchers predict and model the proteins that make up the 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
What we’re doing
We’ve decided to commit unused resources on our server infrastructure and office computers toward the Rosetta@home initiative, which is at the forefront of the coronavirus protein molecular modeling. We have allocated a portion of our CPU power and RAM toward assisting the predicting and modeling of proteins and finding vaccines and other pharmaceutical solutions together.
Why this matters
With the knowledge generated through this process, researchers are working to create new proteins to neutralize this coronavirus and to design vaccines and antiviral drugs that will save thousands of lives1.
Does this affect our service?
Fortunately, no. In general and even to this day, our server infrastructure delivers blazing fast website experiences by leveraging a marriage of a unique stack and cutting-edge hardware. We purposefully leave more than enough margin on our infrastructure to deal with large spikes. Furthermore, most of our performance comes from RAM and storage optimizations. Lastly, to ensure that this has no adverse effect on our customers, we’ve set up our resource commitment to be contingent on our infrastructure being idle (less than 20% usage). The moment resource requirements exceed 20%, we stop modeling proteins.
How you can join the fight
Joining the fight is remarkably simple. The Rosetta@home project’s website will guide you through the steps. To take part in this initiative, you will need a computer that is connected to the internet, and left powered on when idle.
- Institute for Protein Design. Rosetta’s role in fighting coronavirus . Institute for Protein Design. https://www.ipd.uw.edu/2020/02/rosettas-role-in-fighting-coronavirus/. Published February 21, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2020.