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Folding@home ARM support lets Android devices crunch COVID-19 research data

It also allows the project to harness Raspberry Pi computing power.

Cropped image of teenage girl using mobile phone
Maskot via Getty Images
Mariella Moon
Mariella Moon|@mariella_moon|July 28, 2020 8:15 AM

Folding@home and Rosetta@home can now run on billions of Android smartphones, Raspberry Pi devices and ARM-based servers. The distributed computing projects, which give citizen scientists a way to contribute their devices’ computing power to the development of new cures for diseases, now support ARM64. That’s the ARM architecture behind processors such as Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos, which power most modern smartphones today.

Dr. Lloyd Watts, founder and CEO of Neocortix, which worked with Folding@home to add ARM64 support, said they “built Folding@home and Rosetta@home for ARM-based devices to enable billions of high-performance mobile devices to work on the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.” Both projects are assisting researchers around the world developing medicine and vaccines for the coronavirus, and they previously issued a call asking more people to lend them their devices’ computing power. However, neither @home project could run on ARM-based devices in the past.

With this development, the projects can harness all the computing power laying dormant in our pockets. Our phones have become more and more powerful in recent years, after all, and it’s high time for both Folding@home and Rosetta@home to give people the option to contribute to scientific research using their mobile devices.

Folding@home director Dr. Greg Bowman said in a statement:

“We’ve been watching the increasing computational power of phones and other mobile devices for years. This collaboration with Neocortix and Arm provided the perfect opportunity to tap into these resources to accelerate our COVID-19 research.”

Folding@home ARM support lets Android devices crunch COVID-19 research data