Navigraph Unveils Simmers Without Borders Initiative to Help COVID-19 Research

Keizo Ono
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Popular flight simulation nav data and charts provider Navigraph has unveiled a way that the flight simulation community can help during the novel coronavirus crisis. In a four-minute YouTube video, Navigraph co-founders Magnus and Stephen detailed their Simmers Without Borders initiative to speed up vaccine research for the virus. 

Pointing out how most flight sim computers have powerful processors and other components, Magnus says that when we aren’t using our computers their power can assist vaccine research. The process is done via distributed computing with a program called Folding@home, and allows idle computers to help power protein simulations that are required to find a vaccine. 

Navigraph’s simple explanation of the operation was as follows,

“The simulation is the process of repeating the assembly of a large three-dimensional puzzle, with many loose parts, which move very quickly, over and over again, in order to find an assembly which is useful for producing a vaccine for COVID-19. Folding@home studies COVID-19 by simulating how the virus rapidly folds in three-dimensional space as it binds to other proteins. By understanding how the virus binds to other proteins we are better able to produce a vaccine.”

Because protein folding can happen very quickly, the research involved requires significant amounts of computing power, which is why it’s important that people help donate their computing power. Folding@home has also helped contribute to research on other diseases such as, “Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s; as well as on infectious diseases such as Dengue, Zika, Hepatitis C, and Ebola.”

We hope you all stay safe and healthy during these strange times. Threshold will be contributing the Simmers Without Borders initiative, and we highly recommend you do too (the setup process only takes five minutes). Make sure to check out the Simmers Without Borders website for more information on Folding@home.

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