The Folding@Home Initiative

Folding@home is a distributed computing project originally launched in 2000 to work on simulating protein dynamics, often involved in a variety of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, cancer and others. Earlier this year with Coronavirus wreaking havoc around the world, Folding@home began focusing its compute power on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. First finding novel protein structures that were not easily accessible to the research community, and now screening for potential drugs to target these structures — the goal to identify new COVID-19 drugs, therapies and their possible side-effects. Today, Folding@home is one of the world’s largest, distributed supercomputing systems achieving over 2.43 exaflops in April 2020, powered by over four million volunteer computing devices running AMD, Intel CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs and more.

Theta Network started thinking about extending its patented decentralized video and data delivery blockchain technology to edge computing earlier this year. Theta Edge Nodes have thus far been dedicated to sharing bandwidth by relaying video and other data in a peer-to-peer network, scalable to millions of concurrent users through native protocol level support for off-chain micropayments. Since bandwidth sharing utilizes minimal CPU and GPU resources, it means that Edge Nodes could also perform compute intensive tasks such as determining which drug designs could be effective COVID-19 antivirals.

As shown by the screenshot below, by running the Theta Edge Node and switching on the "Edge Compute (Beta)", the edge node will automatically download the Folding@Home jobs and solve on the host computer. Once a solution is computed, it will be submitted to Folding@Home backend for validation.


It became clear that Theta’s mesh network of thousands of edge nodes and computing power could complement Folding@home’s strategic initiatives. Since Theta edge node devices will earn Theta Fuel (TFUEL) tokens on the Theta blockchain for their contributions, they can be expected to be significant and reliable contributors to Folding@home’s projects. The underlying technical on-chain and off-chain solution verification and decentralized edge computation design and architecture can be found here: Theta Decentralized Edge computing platform.

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