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wednesday :: october 23, 2002
> world protein folding dance
:: first distributed computing success

As you read this sentence, millions of personal computers around the world are working overtime -- performing complex computations on their screensavers in the name of science. This growing Internet phenomenon, known as 'distributed computing,' is being used for everything from the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to the design of new therapeutic drugs.

Now, for the first time, a distributed computing experiment has produced significant results that have been published in a scientific journal. Writing in the advanced online edition of Nature magazine, Stanford University scientists Christopher D. Snow and Vijay S. Pande describe how they -- with the help of 30,000 personal computers -- successfully simulated part of the complex folding process that a typical protein molecule undergoes to achieve its unique, three-dimensional shape. Their findings were confirmed in the laboratory of Houbi Nguyen and Martin Gruebele, scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who co-authored the Nature study.

"These experiments represent a great success for distributed computing," Pande said. "Understanding how proteins fold will likely have a great impact on understanding a wide range of diseases." >from *Folding@home scientists report first distributed computing success*, october 21, 2002

related context
distributed computing projects @home. december 18, 2000

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