B1 Intermediate US 209 Folder Collection
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- When you think of a super computer,
you probably picture a bunch of server racks,
covered in blinking lights in a lab somewhere.
But did you know that you easily make
your home PC part of a super computer, for free
and for a good cause.
The subject of today's video
is a project called [email protected]
and no, we're not talking about laundry.
[email protected] started at Stanford University
but is now run from multiple sites around the world
and the goal is to research protein folding.
But how does it do this home computers
and what the heck is protein folding anyway?
Well, stay with me here
because protein isn't just the stuff
that weightlifters drink by the bucket full.
Your body uses all sorts of different proteins
for everything from building muscle fibers
to intercellular signaling and the crucial thing
to remember about proteins is that their function
depends heavily on their shape,
which is where the term 'folding' comes in.
After a protein is assembled it has to fold
into its proper shape to be useful,
kinda like how you can't throw
a piece of paper across the room
until it's in the correct shape.
I choose ball.
But unlike a paper airplane,
which you can just follow simple instructions for,
protein folding is much more complicated.
You see, proteins are made up of 20 different
kinds of small units, called amino acids
and while they're structurally similar,
all 20 of them have different side chains that,
as the name implies, stick of to the side of the molecule.
When you connect a bunch of amino acids together,
linearly to form a protein, these side chains interact
with each other in ways that cause a protein to fold,
depending on how their shaped
and their electrical properties as well.
As you can imagine, the more amino acids,
the more complicated these interactions become
and the typical protein might be hundreds
of amino acid residues long.
And of course, it's critical for a protein to end up
in the correct shape or conformation
because otherwise it couldn't function.
For example, cells have proteins on their surfaces
that serve as signaling receptors
and they only function because they are shaped
in a certain way that allows them to bind
with this signaling molecules
or other proteins from outside the cell,
kind of like two puzzle pieces coming together.
The TLDR is that understanding how proteins fold
has very important implications in medicine.
For example, understanding how viral proteins interact
with cell membranes to invade cells
is critical to finding treatments to some viral diseases.
So the team behind the project
is currently using [email protected] to research
the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
The better we can understand what parts of the virus
especially the ones that bind to human cells,
could be attacked with the drugs,
the more likely it is that we can develop medicines
that can treat or cure the disease.
But anyways, this is tech quickie not biology quickie
so let's tie this all back to the [email protected] project.
It turns out that simulating protein folding patterns
is very difficult to computationally.
In nature, proteins fold in a tiny fraction of a second
but it can take years of computer time to sort out
exactly how a protein will fold,
given a certain amino acid sequence
and a big part of the problem
is that we don't yet fully understand
the mechanisms behind protein folding.
So the idea behind [email protected],
is to leverage spare home computing power
in order to solve these difficult problems.
All you need to do to participate like I am,
is install a client onto you home PC
from the [email protected] website.
The program will then give your system
part of a folding simulation to run
and then send back to the program servers.
You can specify how much of your PC spare computer muscle
to use, depending on how much you want it to affect
your power bill and you can also choose whether
to run the simulations only when the system is idle
or also when you're actively using them
or maybe you choose depending on how hot
your house is already.
If you have a high-end graphics card,
you're gonna help even more.
The highly parallel nature of GPU architecture,
which you can learn more about up here,
can really speed up simulations
but you also don't need super fancy hardware.
The current version of the client support CPUs
all the way back to Pentium four.
Now, it might seem like the impact one system makes
on the project is minuscule,
but all that spare computing power really adds up
and taking collectively the [email protected] network
is up there with the world's top super computers.
This has enabled real scientific breakthroughs
that would've been much harder to reach otherwise.
Hundreds of scientific papers have been published
from the project's findings and have also been useful
for those involved in drug discovery.
So, if you can spare a bit of power,
download the [email protected] app today.
Join the LTD Folding team and make a difference,
your PC might even wind up finding
a cure for the coronavirus,
which could not only safe lives
but also finally put an end to all
these people hoarding toilet paper.
What's up with that anyway?
Geez, it doesn't make you poo more, you poo the same amount.
Anyway, this video is brought to by FreshBooks.
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when you sign up for a paid plan
at freshbooks.com/techquickie.
So thanks for watching guys,
if you liked this video, give it a thumbs up,
get subscribed and hit us up in the comment section
with your suggestions for topics
that we should cover in the future.
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FIGHT Coronavirus From Home! - [email protected]

209 Folder Collection
ally.chang published on April 16, 2020
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