Telefónica will lend Folding@home (FAH or F@h) processing capacity from 107 servers located in some of the countries where the company operates to help with research to find new COVID-19 therapeutic treatments.
Based at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, Folding@home is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases.
It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data are helping scientists to better understand biology and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.
Telefónica will donate processing resources from its subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and Uruguay. All the distributed resources added together constitute a supercomputer that helps process faster computer simulations to develop the most effective design for therapies against the coronavirus.
Enrique Blanco, Chief Technology & Information Officer of Telefónica, said that “throughout our almost century-old history, Telefónica has experienced crisis situations at different times and in different countries. And we know that in times of crisis, communication networks and tools are even more crucial than usual.
Therefore, we are very happy to join the Folding@home project and offer our technological resources and know-how to support their research to tackle COVID-19”.
For his part, Anton Thynell, Head of Communication and Collaboration at F@h, said that “We are very thankful that Telefónica is collaborating in our project in the fight against the coronavirus. Together we are stronger”.
Telefónica will provide a total of 107 high performance servers with a processing capacity of 3552 CPUs (Central Processing Unit on the server). The Folding@home project launches a large volume of complex simulations and calculations that these servers process transparently thanks to their computing capacity. The results are then combined centrally.
In addition to this large-scale processing, the project is open to individual participation by anyone who wants to contribute their personal computer resources at https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/
This is part of a wide range of initiatives promoted by Telefónica to respond to this unprecedented crisis and provide a responsible response to all stakeholders.
Telefonica is making every effort to ensure its networks work at full capacity, in a reliable, stable and secure way, while protecting the health of its employees and working closely with health authorities and social agents.
For instance, the company has increased customers’ mobile data allowance and entertainment offering at no extra cost, as well as reinforcing the educational content on its Foundation’s online learning platforms.
To help contribute to efforts to contain the outbreak, Telefónica has made its Big Data and anonymised data management capacities available to public administrations and health institutions and has created a fund of 25 million euros to provide healthcare equipment and respirators to the most needed areas.