Humans and AI
Meet passionate people from all walks of life who are putting AI into action to transform our world.
How do you create a global village large enough to power an exascale supercomputer? People power. Follow Dr. Greg Bowman from Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, as he builds a Folding@home community to discover new treatments for COVID-19.
The beginning: Greg’s inspiration
I started losing my sight as a kid due to malfunctioning proteins in the retina. I’ve dedicated my life’s work to understanding how proteins function and how insights could lead to new treatments for diseases. As coronavirus became a pandemic, our lab decided to dedicate all our efforts toward researching the proteins in COVID-19. And people all over the world started stepping up in amazing ways - like Max.
Meet the team: Max, the risktaker
Max is a postdoc and a new dad. Research is the foundation of his future career. He dropped his planned research to simulate COVID-19 proteins even though it put his future funding at risk. He did it because he’s convinced that our simulations can lead to better therapies.
The team’s research
We can see COVID-19 proteins at an atomic level, but no one can capture a protein's moving parts at this scale. AI can create simulations to find meaningful movements. Understanding the moving parts of proteins will help researchers target and accelerate vaccine and drug development. To find the vast number of folding patterns takes enormous compute power: That’s where Anton comes in.
Meet the team: Anton, the communicator
Anton was leaving to start a new job in South America when COVID-19 hit. Since our work is fueled by citizen scientists, he canceled his move and joined the Folding@home team to grow our volunteer base. Since then, we've grown from 30,000 to 4 million volunteers. We now have compute power faster than the world's top seven supercomputers, thanks to our partnership with Microsoft AI for health and volunteers like Ilma.
Meet the team: Ilma, the volunteer
Ilma is a medical student and COVID-19 is a risk for her every day. When she’s not studying, she volunteers her computer to run simulations – so do her friends. Thanks to volunteers like her and millions of others, we can complete protein simulations in weeks, when a single computer would take 100 years. This computing power can be applied to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and antibiotic resistance.