How to Use Your Mac to Help the Fight Against Coronavirus

Wednesday March 11, 2020 9:08 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

Folding@home is a distributed computing project for disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics.

In addition to cancer, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's, Folding@home has announced that it is tackling a disease that has been dominating the headlines: COVID-19.

The project is joining researchers around the world who are working to better understand the Coronavirus to accelerate the open science effort to develop new life-saving therapies.

By downloading Folding@Home on your Mac, you can donate your unused computational resources to the Folding@home Consortium, where researchers are working to advance our understanding of the structures of potential drug targets for COVID-19 that could aid in the design of new therapies.


The following steps show you how to get started with the Mac app. Before you install the Folding@home client, be aware that it can consume a lot of CPU cycles, so depending on what you use your Mac for, you may be better off running it only during times when your Mac is otherwise idle.

  1. Open a browser tab and visit https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/.
  2. Click on fah-installer_7.5.1_x86_64.mpkg.zip link to download the Folding@Home installer.
    fold@home

  3. Run the installer and enter your admin user name and password when prompted.
  4. When the installer has completed, ignore the webpage that it opens for now, and launch the FAHControl app from the Applications/Folding@home folder.
    finder

  5. You'll see a prompt warning you that the client hasn't been assigned an identity. Click Fold Anonymously or Configure Identity. The latter option ensures that the points you earn will be credited to you, but you'll need to enter a username. (You can also join a team – MacRumors' Team ID is 3446.)

  6. To ensure your CPU cycles are contributing to COVID-19, click the Configure button, then select the Advanced tab and choose Any in the Cause Preference dropdown menu. (The project is prioritizing coronavirus among the Any category.)

  7. Click Save.

You can view a visual representation of the molecules your Mac is analyzing in real time by clicking the Viewer button. You can also access the web client at https://client.foldingathome.org for a better visual rendering.


Since this is a power-hungry endeavor, the Folding@home client will automatically pause whenever your Mac laptop switches to battery power. You can control this setting in Configure -> Advanced -> Power.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
I wonder how useful this actually is (serious question)
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
I remember doing this on my PS3. lol
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


You can't set it.

When you sign up, you agree to be a part of the network. What they actually run on your device is not disclosed to you. It can be one of the many projects they have. The corona project is just there for marketing.

That's being said, how can you be sure that you are not just mining bitcoin?

You can't, that's the problem...


folding@home is run by a respected institution, has been around for a long time, and has done some good as I understand if. We get that you don’t trust them (or anybody?) but it’s not really necessary to post repeatedly like you’re trying to convince people they shouldn’t use it, like it, or feel good about it. The conspiratorial look is pretty ridiculous here, you’re actually suggesting Stanford could be tricking people into mining bitcoin? Come on, now.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
I wish they could do this for the AppleTV - with a nice "screensaver".
[automerge]1583943858[/automerge]


I wonder how useful this actually is (serious question)


My understanding is that these things are quite useful. Will they solve all of our problems? No. Will they help us find aliens as the good 'ol SETI@Home (man, I loved it!), probably not. However, they will certainly help in reducing computing expenses and they will also help in lowering calculation times.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


I wonder how useful this actually is (serious question)

At least it’s more useful than mining.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
No mention of the MacRumors team ID? Plop in 3446 and get to work.

[URL unfurl="true"]https://stats.foldingathome.org/team/3446[/URL]

Unfortunately I'm currently folding for another team, but I had a whole computer lab full of MDD G4s cranking away at F@H back in 2006.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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