Maximum PC: Walking into the Pande Lab at Stanford University is somewhat of a hardcore geek’s ultimate dream. This is, after all, where the real work gets done—or should we say, work units. For the various desktop systems and consoles scattered around the area are all a part of a larger initiative that likely you and I, as well as Stanford graduate students, researchers from around the globe, and consortiums of geeks and enthusiasts alike, have all contributed to.
Dr. Vijay Pande, an associate professor of chemistry, structural biology, and computer science over at Stanford—as well as the longtime director of the Folding@Home distributing computing project, which his aptly titled “Pande Lab” oversees—estimates that around 400,000 systems actively “fold” at the current moment. Given the program’s fairly linear growth of around 40,000 new systems a year, Folding@Home should be able to push past half a million “connected” PCs easily before its crystal anniversary.