What just happened? The Folding@home project has reached another milestone, passing a massive 2.4 ExaFLOPS of combined performance. That’s more than the top 500 supercomputers combined, and 15 times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer: IBM’s Summit.
The Pande Lab at Stanford University has been running the Folding@home project for almost twenty years. The distributed compute network utilizes volunteers’ spare CPU and GPU power, combining the resources of thousands of home systems to understand better how proteins fold. Hopefully, the simulations can lead to treatments for diseases such as cancer and Parkinson's.
Last month saw Folding@home thrust into the spotlight after it added Covid-19 to the list of diseases it’s researching. In less than a week, 400,000 people had signed up to lend their system resources to the project, giving it access to 470 PetaFLOPS of power. Another week later, the cumulative performance reached 1.5 ExaFLOPS, or 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second.
Now, Folding@home has passed an incredible 2.4 ExaFLOPS. IBM’s Summit, which tops the most powerful supercomputers list, has a peak output of 200 PetaFLOPS and a LINPACK benchmark of 148.6 PetaFLOPS.
Folding@home’s director, Greg Bowman, tweeted that the service has had to refocus its efforts from setting up new projects to moving data off servers to make room for more. With around 6TB of data arriving every hour, it’s not surprising that the project needs more space.
More GPU work units are coming for @foldingathome. We've had to shift some of our effort from setting up projects to moving data off servers to make room for more data. Its amazing how quickly the data is coming in! Something like 6TB/hr.— Greg Bowman (@drGregBowman) April 14, 2020
If you want to become part of Folding@home, just download the client. You’ll be joining several tech outlets and hardware vendors, including Nvidia and EVGA, that have put teams together.