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Podcast: Folding@home enlists computers to ID COVID-19 treatment targets

The latest “Show Me the Science” episode highlights an effort led by Washington University scientists using computing power from around the world to identify vulnerabilities in the coronavirus. The crowdsourced supercomputing project Folding@home harnesses the combined processing power of millions of computers whose owners download software and run simulations to model how proteins move and fold.

Greg Bowman, PhD, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and Folding@home leader, talks about using computer processing power to run simulations that would take more than 100 years to complete on a standard computer. Bowman says that with thousands of new participants, the project now has more raw computing power than the world’s largest 500 supercomputers — combined. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals, universities, companies, even the Spanish soccer league La Liga, have joined forces to model how the coronavirus uses its spike protein to bind to human cells.