1. What is Fight AIDS @ Home?

    FightAIDS@Home is a project run by the Olson Laboratory that uses distributed computing to contribute your computer's idle resources to accelerate research into new drug therapies for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  FightAIDS@Home made history in September 2000 when it became the first biomedical Internet-based grid computing project. FightAIDS@Home was started with Scott Kurowski, founder of Entropia. People all around the World continue to donate their home computer's idle cycles to running our AutoDock software on HIV-1 protease inhibitor docking problems.  With the generous assistance of IBM, we joined World Community Grid in late 2005, and launched FightAIDS@Home on World Community Grid on 21 November, 2005.

  2. How do I join the FightAIDS@Home Project?

    All you need to do is download and install the free client software. Once you have done this, your computer is then automatically put to work and you can continue using your computer as usual.

  3. How do I tell World Community Grid to run only FightAIDS@Home?

    World Community Grid runs more than one distributed computing project, not just  FightAIDS@Home.  By default, all new World Community Grid members are set contribute to all projects. 
    But members have the option of opting out of projects if they want to donate all their unused computer time to just one of the research projects.  When the server sends a work unit to the agent, there is a chance that it will run a project other than FightAIDS@Home - unless you choose to participate in a specific project.

    To opt out of a project:

    • Sign In to the World Community Grid web site.
    • Go to the "My Grid/My Statistics" page.
    • Select "My Projects" on the left menu. This brings up a new page titled "My Grid/My Profile".
    • Under "Available Projects", uncheck the projects you would like to opt out of.
    • Click on the "Save" button (at the bottom of the page) to save your changes.
    • Click on the "sign out" button (at the top right of the page) to exit the site.
    Click on image to enlarge it.
    screen shot of selecting project

  4. How does the FightAIDS@Home software work?

    We use a client (a piece of software) that automatically downloads small pieces of data and then uses AutoDock to perform calculations that model how drugs interact with various forms of HIV Protease, a key molecular machine in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. After your computer processes the information, the results are sent back to The Scripps Research Institute where they are analyzed by researchers in Prof. Olson's Laboratory.  The process takes an enormous amount of computing time, which is why The Scripps Research Institute needs you (and your friends!) to participate in FightAIDS@Home.

  5. What does the FightAIDS@Home screensaver look like?

    Here is a screenshot; visit the World Community Grid FAQ for more information about the FightAIDS@Home screensaver.

    Click on image to enlarge it.
    A screenshot showing the FightAIDS@Home World Community Grid screensaver in action.
  6. What are the units of energy?

    You can see that in Panel B, "Docking Energies", and in Panel C, "Best Docking Energies", we measure the quality of our dockings using energy.  The units of energy in AutoDock and in the FightAIDS@Home screensaver are "kcal/mol", or "kilocalories per mole".  These are the same calories you count when you are on a diet. One calorie is roughly 4 Joules (1 cal = 4.184 J to be more exact).  Take a look at Wikipedia for more information about units of energy, the calorie, the joule, the topic of energy in general, and free energy.

  7. What's in it for me?

    Simply, the satisfaction of knowing you are harnessing the idle resources of your computer to assist us in our endeavours to develop not only new AIDS therapies, but new methodologies for fighting AIDS. We couldn't do it without you.

  8. Will my computer only be working on the FightAIDS@Home project?

    No. there is more than one humanitarian project running on the World Community Grid. The default setting for a new member on World Community Grid is to contribute computing power to all of the projects. You may select to contribute only to FightAIDS@Home.

  9. What computers can run FightAIDS@Home?

    Currently, any Internet-connected Windows XP, 2000, NT 4.0, Me, or 98 PC with a Pentium 550 MHz or above, 256 MB of RAM or more, and 50 MB of Free disk space. Mac OS X and Linux systems are also supported.

  10. Will I need to do anything after I download and install the free software?

    One of the beautiful things about the free desktop application is that it will run on its own.

  11. Will I need to upgrade the software at a later date?

    Similar to an anti-virus software program that you may already be running, the free desktop application that powers the FightAIDS@Home project automatically upgrades itself as long as you connect to the Internet periodically, so you are always running the most current version.

  12. Will the FightAIDS@Home software interfere with my normal work?

    Whether you are using your computer or it is sitting idle, the software works in the background. You won't even notice it's there working to solve one of the world's most complex problems.

  13. Do I need to leave my computer on all the time to run FightAIDS@Home?

    You are not required to leave your computer on; however, the more time your computer is running, the more time it spends working on the FightAIDS@Home project.

  14. Will I lose control of my dial-up or network connection?

    You will never lose control of your dial-up or network connection or any other part of your system.

  15. My question was not answered here. Who do I contact?

    Please remember: we are not funded to provide support. We cannot guarantee that your email will be replied to. If you cannot find your answer on our website, you can check the forum hosted on the website for World Community Grid. Please do not send email to webmaster@scripps.edu. Thank you.