Scientists hail 'first success' for distributed computing

Major breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Major breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's...

Scientists have successfully mapped the folding sequence of proteins using the shared power of a distributed network of thousands of computers. This model of computing was made famous by the SETI@Home experiment, whose ongoing mission is to seek out extraterrestrial life, pooling the shared resources of a network of thousands of members' computers to power its efforts. However, scientists at Stanford University in the US claim their P2P-based investigation is the first to yield results which appear in a recognised scientific journal. The findings of Christopher Snow and Vijay Pande appear in Nature. Protein molecules exists as complex polymers, consisting of a chain of amino acids which form intricate 3D constructions. However, the shapes they create are very specific and must be correct if the protein is to function properly. Clusters of misshapen proteins have been found in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It is hoped the Stanford break-through may be an important step in fighting these two diseases.
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