Skyscrapers and customers fight COVID-19 together with Folding@Home

Skyscrapers and customers fight COVID-19 together with Folding@Home

We came up with the idea of making it easy for our customer to make available their (spare) cloud resources towards Folding@home to help fight COVID-19.

Written by iaranda Posted on April 3rd 2020

The world is increasingly becoming united in it's fight against COVID-19. At Skyscrapers we have also been thinking about how we can contribute. One thing we already did to help new remote companies, was publish our communication guidelines.

Now, with some engineering work and the help of Kubernetes, we made it completely effortless for our customers to donate cloud resources towards the fight against COVID-19. These resources go to the Folding@Home project, an internet supercomputer that is now trying to find therapeutic opportunities that can help create a drug for COVID-19.

We ourselves are donating $ 250/month in dedicated AWS resources towards this same initiative.

What is Folding@Home?

The Folding@Home project uses distributed computing to process large amounts of data for medical research. Amid the current crisis of the COVID-19 virus, they've also started generating work units (WU) towards gathering as much information as possible of the virus.

The problems they are solving depend on complicated computer calcul­ations. They are constantly looking for more computing power and are looking at everybody with an internet connection. The Folding@home software allows you to share your unused computer power. This effectively turns the internet into one giant supercomputer, as this tweet from Greg Bowman, Director of Folding@Home, shows:

Learn more about them here.

How Kubernetes and we are helping?

The more computing resources they have, the faster they'll be able to process data, and that's where we and our customers come in.

We run a lot of Kubernetes clusters for our customers and there's usually some spare cloud resources in each of them. We've done all the work to package a Folding@Home client and make it run on these clusters.

Customers can now simply ask us to join the project and we'll roll it out to their cluster for them for free.

By default we configure things to use spare capacity (as low-priority Pods). For customers that want to contribute more, we can configure dedicated resources depending on how much they want to donate (using normal priority Pods).

I want to contribute as well!

  • If you are a Skyscrapers customer running on our Kubernetes Reference Platform for SaaS, simply ask your assigned Customer Lead and you'll be helping out the world 🌎in no time!
  • If you are not a Skyscrapers customer, well... become one  😉. Or you can look at our open-source work and build further on that. Let us know what you've done!
  • the Docker image
  • the Helm chart
  • If you have no cloud infrastructure at all, you can still help: just setup the Folding@home client on your own computer and start contributing:

Let's get this bug wiped out!