T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home

Invitation and recap from Glenn Berry.


This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is devoted to the Folding@Home (FAH) distributed computing project. This project was originally launched by Pande Lab at Stanford University on October 1, 2000. It is currently based at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Dr. Greg Bowman.

Folding@Home has been around for nearly twenty years, and they have a long record of generating valuable biomedical research. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge of donors and attention focused on the work that the FAH team has been doing. On March 8, 2020 I started a SQLFamily team for Folding@Home. Since then, 130 other people (so far) have joined in the effort. That leads to our current topic, T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home.

T-SQL Tuesday #126 – Folding@Home

I had previously heard about Folding@Home many years ago, since a number of hardware related websites used to mention it (because they had competitive teams) fairly frequently. On March 7, I downloaded the FAH client software on a few of my machines and started folding. I started the team the next day. To my happy surprise, many other people in the SQL Server community started joining the team, donating their computer resources.

Since then, I have learned quite a bit about FAH. I have also done quite a bit of hardware modification, optimization and upgrades on my small fleet of lab machines. The point of the hardware work for me was to learn how to get more FAH production in the most efficient way possible. I have also tried to spread the word about the project and our team, and to share some of my experience.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write about what you have been doing as a response to COVID-19. Maybe you have joined the SQLFamily FAH team. Perhaps you have been printing “ear savers” using 3D-printers like Tim Radney. Perhaps you have been donating food or doing some other sort of volunteer work. Whatever you have been doing, now is your chance to talk about it and publicize it!

Personally, I would love to hear about your experience and any lesson’s learned with FAH. What kind of hardware are you using, and have you made any changes? Are you running FAH in the cloud or in some other interesting way? Have you done anything interesting from a technology perspective related to FAH?