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We can all be “citizen scientists” in the fight against COVID-19

As our CEO Kay Iversen pointed out last week, Market Logic’s teams have managed the shift to working from home seamlessly. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy watching the pandemic tear through our communities and our world.

However, none of us are virologists. Our teams are mostly made up of market researchers, product managers and engineers. Last week, I discussed the Folding@home project with the Market Logic leadership team – and it gave us an idea of how we could help.

Understanding Coronavirus is the first step

We all know that the medical research community is hard at work studying the unique molecular structure of COVID-19. We also know that the proteins inside the virus perform a function crucial for its survival: they reproduce themselves and suppress human immune systems. So in order to understand and develop therapies against this novel Coronavirus, researchers need to understand how these particular viral proteins work.

Computer simulations can go a long way in understanding the moving parts of a protein. Watching the protein’s atoms move in relation to one another can provide valuable information that cannot be observed in any other way, and can lead to therapeutic opportunities.

Supercomputer simulations

Folding@home is an open source project that was started by Prof. Vijay Pande at Stanford University. Under normal circumstances, its powerful distributed supercomputer (the most powerful in the world!) performs molecular dynamics simulations for biomedical problems, like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and Ebola. But since March 2020, Folding@home has been working on simulations of COVID-19 viral proteins.

In the past, supercomputers were typically used for military and government purposes and were sheltered in proprietary systems. They were expensive to build and run and quickly went outdated. In the 1990s, a group of astronomers started a citizen-science program called SETI@home – a program that ran data analysis using the computation power of idle home computers. Millions of people signed up, all in the hope that their computer could help find suspicious signals out in space.

Putting idle computation power to good use

Inspired by SETI@home’s crowd-sourcing of computation power, Folding@home also uses the idle processing resources of computers and gaming systems around the world. Volunteers simply install software and let it run in the background.

There are currently 250,000 teams of global volunteers (or “citizen scientists”) who are donating their personal or organizational computing power in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

Market Logic is taking action from home

The Market Logic team, #stronger2020, is happy to provide idle computation power from our next-gen platform. In addition to delivering aggregated insights and updates to our clients during these difficult times, we can take action by donating our spare CPU power to the fight against Coronavirus. And within a few short days, Market Logic has risen to the top 10% of teams for its contribution to Folding@home’s computation power.

Join the Market Logic #stronger2020 team

Out of 250,000 teams, Market Logic is in the top 2000 contributors of computation power – a number we hope to improve over the coming weeks. If you’re interested in finding out how you can join the Market Logic #stronger2020 team, reach out to info@marketlogicsoftware.com.

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