on the crypto
CoreWeave, the largest U.S. miner on the Ethereum blockchain, is redirecting the processing power of 6.000 specialized computers to research aimed at finding therapy for the new coronavirus.
Hopefully to find a solution
These graphics processing units (GPUs) will be directed to Stanford University's Folding @ home, with the intention of forming a distributed supercomputer for disease research.
CoreWeave co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Brian Venturo, said that those 6.000 GPUs hijacked on research made up about 0,2% of Ethereum's total hashrate, earning a quotation about 28 ETH a day.
There is no cure for coronavirus yet, but "Folding @ home research has had a profound impact on the development of drugs for HIV and we hope that our computing power can help fight coronavirus," said Venturo .
A Cworld omputer
Folding @ home is a decentralized project on the same principle as Bitcoin. Instead of a single research company that uses a huge computer to do research, Folding @ home uses the computing power of anyone who wants to participate from all over the world.
Just like in bitcoin mining, a user could find a "solution" to the current problem by distributing this information to the rest of the team. "Their protein simulations attempt to find potential avenues where existing [FDA (Food and Drug Administration)] approved drugs or other known compounds could help inhibit or cure the virus," said Venturo.
Viruses have proteins ”which they use to suppress our immune system and reproduce. To help fight coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapies to stop them, "explains a post on the Folding @ home blog.
Simulating these proteins and then looking at them from different angles helps scientists better understand them and perhaps find an antidote. "Our specialty is the use of computer simulations to understand the moving parts of proteins," reads the post.
Various blockchains are joining the cause
Folding @ home could use even more energy. And miners from other cryptocurrencies are already taking action to contribute to the cause. Tulip.tools founder Johann Tanzer has launched a call to act to members of its blockchain.
Currently, 20 groups of Tezos miners are contributing part of their hashing power. But this does not mean that all miners can participate. While GPUs are flexible, ASICs, a type of chip designed specifically for mining, are not, according to Venturo.
Although ASICs are more powerful than GPUs, they are actually made only for one thing: mining cryptocurrency. This is an advantage that Venturo thinks Ethereum has on Bitcoin, since GPU mining still works on Ethereum, while Bitcoin is now dominated by ASICs.
“This is one of the great things about Ethereum's mining ecosystem, it is basically the largest GPU processing resource on the planet. We have been able to redistribute our hardware to help fight a global pandemic in minutes, "said Venturo.