In a novel attempt to make the best of the self-imposed isolation, gaming giant NVIDIA on Friday called onto all the gamers to donate their Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) 's unused computing power to fight against Coronavirus (COVID19). NVIDIA has collaborated with Folding@Home to assist researchers around the world, by allowing them to access computer users' unused processing unit's computing power, thereby virtually building a supercomputer. Folding@home has already released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), according to the company's website.
PC Gamers, let’s put those GPUs to work.— NVIDIA GeForce (@NVIDIAGeForce) March 13, 2020
Join us and our friends at @OfficialPCMR in supporting folding@home and donating unused GPU computing power to fight against COVID-19!
Learn more → https://t.co/EQE4u7xTZT pic.twitter.com/uO0ZCq8PEv
As explained by Gamesradar, when a particular computer user downloads the application from the site, he can access the link to install a program developed for one's computer. The program links computers into an international network that uses distributed processing power i.e a combination of all CPUs put together which plug into the network via the program to undertake massive computing tasks which will aid in progressing ongoing research on COVID19. Essentially, researchers will be able to tap into the powerful ROM capacity of gaming-grade GPUs for their research.
Gamesradar explains that one can still turn the application off and reclaim one's GPU's full power for playing games whenever one wants. Similarly, one can also use old android phones by downloading an application - Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) to install the required program. One can just switch on one's phone, connect toa wi-fi network and then switch off the screen. The program will run till one's phone is connected to the Wi-Fi.
According to Folding@home, the initial wave of projects has allowed scientists t to understand how these coronaviruses interact with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)required for viral entry into the human cells. This has led to scientists design therapeutic antibodies or small molecules to disrupt the interaction. The project hopes to take advantage of some of the new structural biology to understand the working of these viruses in order to defeat it. The current death toll globally due to COVID19 stands at 5960, with 159620 cases affected.