Aquilant’s spare computer resources assist research into diseases including Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Huntingdon’s and Parkinson’s.

Aquilant, a leading provider of specialist healthcare and scientific products and services, is putting its spare IT resources to better use by contributing two servers as part of the innovative Folding@home project. Folding@home is a distributed computing project focused on disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design and other types of molecular dynamics. Created and run by the Pande Lab, it is providing essential research into diseases including Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Huntingdon’s and Parkinson’s. The lab is part of the departments’ of chemistry and structural biology for Stanford University and Stanford Medical Centre. The laboratory is directed by Professor Vijay Pande, Ph.d.

In the modern day IT environment, the majority of companies have an abundance of computing resources that are sat idle with no function, from a simple laptop to a huge server. Pande Lab has found a way to take advantage of these resources for vital disease research by using distributed computing to study long timescale dynamics, pushed its application to protein folding and wrote the client software and server code for the Folding@home project. Today, volunteers across the globe are providing their idle computing resources for this innovative project.

Pearse Lynch, part of the IT department at Aquilant, explains: “Folding@home is a valuable research project looking into a range of diseases that currently have no real cure. To help with its progress, Aquilant has dedicated two servers to the project, each one configured to allow the software to utilise 100 percent of the computing power 24 hours per day, seven days per week. So far, our servers have provided 289 work units for the project.”

Pearse continues: “Currently, our IT resources are being used for a study into the property and distribution differences of myosins across the human body. This analysis is particularly interested in the differences in speed and power, and how this will help the healthcare sector understand diseases that result from defects in myosin, including Usher syndrome and especially hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies.” 

The Folding@home project is managed by Justin R. Porter at Washington University in St. Louis. To find out more about it, click here: http://folding.stanford.edu/.