Computing for a Cure

One of the crucial ways in which medicine advances is through complex computer simulations involving proteins. Proteins make up the majority of the tissue in the human body, and their ability to fold into highly varied and complex forms are what allow all of the biological processes in the body, including immune response, muscle control, cognition, and healing after injury.

Thus, protein folding and interaction simulations provide key insight, allowing medical researchers to refine their search for novel compounds and treatment options for a myriad of conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and even viral conditions caused by the zika, Ebola, and hepatitis viral families.

However, the computing power required for these simulations is prohibitively expensive, leaving researchers with no other choice but to reach out to enthusiastic citizens who are willing to share their personal computer's processing power on these massive simulations, in order to progress forward in their research. Many citizens do share what they can, but this is often limited by the needs of the citizen, and the relatively limited processing power of normal PC, laptops, and smartphones.

This is where I come in. My name is Gerrit Motes, I am a graduate student at North Carolina State University studying Mechanical Engineering. I don't have a lot of spare time or money to donate to causes such as these. However, I firmly believe that we should all do what we can to improve the lives of those around us, and I happen to have some spare computer parts laying around for a high-ppwer desktop, that will likely continue to collect dust or will be thrown out soon if I can't find a good use for it. These parts align perfectly for what could be a single dedicated "folding machine" that can provide the equivalent processing power of 1000 to 2500+ average personal computers for a fraction of the cost and electricity! The wide variation in processing is based on the amount of donations I get, which will allow me to add more processing power to the unit.

Unlike the typical citizen donor, I can also guarantee that this folding unit will be processing data 24/7/365. Like I mentioned before, these parts are sitting in my closet at the moment, getting no use whatsoever.

At this moment, I have an extra large tower case with cooling, a large power supply to run the system, and a mid-level gpu card. I've done some reading, and found that I can use the parts I have, add some essential components to get the machine running, and have a barebones, 1000 PC-equivalent folding machine running 24/7 for about 750 dollars.

The following is a list of additional parts needed.

Refurbished MSI Z170A SLI motherboard -$175

Intel Pentium G4600 Dual-Core 3.6 GHz Processor - $87

Cooler Master H115 Low-Profile CPU Cooler - $10

Crucial 4GB 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2133 - $44

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 GPU Processing Video Card (the heart of the system)- $430

SanDisk 16GB CZ48 USB 3.0 Flash Drive (used to run the OS, Ubuntu Linux) - $7

All processing done on this machine is tracked by the project, and all donors to this project will have their names added to the team that this machine will operate under (unless they elect not to), and regular progress updates will be provided.

And please remember that $800 is all I need to get started, but any extra funding received will equate to more processing power, and more research done ($450 extra will add an extra 700 PCs worth of processing power.

Finally, I intend to run this machine as long as it will operate. At the end of its life, all functional parts will be either donated, and the rest will be recycled properly to ensure that impact to the environment is minimized.

This is the one of the most efficient and long lasting ways that you can help improve medical treatments for these terrible diseases and conditions. I hope you will join me to help improve the medical field in one of the only ways I know how.

Folding@Home Project Website
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Gerrit Motes 
Albuquerque, NM
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