I just installed Folding@home today on my two quad-core machines. These are some high-power machines essentially sleep after hours. It does not decrease the in-use performance of your computer since it runs at the lowest priority available under Windows.
Join My Team… it’s #117081.
Folding@home is a distributed computing project, that very simply stated, studies protein folding and misfolding. Protein folding is explained in more detail in the scientific background section.
Folding@home does not rely on powerful supercomputers for its data processing; instead, the primary contributors to the Folding@home project are many hundreds of thousands of personal computer users who have installed a small client program. The client will, at the user’s choice, run in the background, utilizing otherwise unused CPU power, or run as a screensaver only while the user is away. In most modern personal computers, the CPU is rarely used to its full capacity at all times; the Folding@home client takes advantage of this unused processing power.
The Folding@home client periodically connects to a server to retrieve “work units,” which are packets of data upon which to perform calculations. Each completed work unit is then sent back to the server. As data integrity is a major concern for all distributed computing projects, all work units are validated through the use of a 2048 bit digital signature.
Contributors to Folding@home may have user names used to keep track of their contributions. Each user may be running the client on one or more CPUs; for example, a user with two computers could run the client on both of them. Users may also contribute under one or more team names; many different users may join together to form a team. Contributors are assigned a score indicating the number and difficulty of completed work units. Rankings and other statistics are posted to the Folding@home website.