13 March 2020

Help Take the Fight to COVID-19 with BOINC and Folding@home

Using extra Unraid CPU or GPU computing power, help take the fight to COVID-19 with BOINC and Folding@Home.

With most of the world now facing the horrible, deadly affects of COVID-19 and with social distancing, quarantines and large scale shutdowns in effect, it's easy to wonder how the average person can help out in this great time of need. One easy way is by donating unused CPU or GPU computing power to help researchers better understand and hopefully develop a vaccine or antiviral for this terrible virus.

Using your Unraid server for distributed computing, here are 2 ways to help researchers learn more about the 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV):


The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing's (BOINC) Rosetta@home project needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don't need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn't possibly attempt without your help.

Rosetta@Home Project's Role in Fighting Coronavirus

We are happy to report that the Rosetta molecular modeling suite was recently used to accurately predict the atomic-scale structure of an important coronavirus protein weeks before it could be measured in the lab. Knowledge gained from studying this viral protein is now being used to guide the design of novel vaccines and antiviral drugs.
Importantly, structural biologists are quickly gaining insights into what the proteins that make up this virus look like and how they function. One viral protein in particular — the spike protein — allows SARS-CoV-2 to fuse its membrane with those on human cells, leading to infection. -Institute for Protein Design

Read more about the Rosetta Project and the Coronavirus here.


Similar to BOINC, Stanford University's Folding@home is a distributed computing project for disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics. As of today, the project is using the idle resources of personal computers owned by volunteers from all over the world. Thousands of people contribute to the success of this project.

F@H Takes Up The Fight Against COVID-19

2019-nCoV is a close cousin to SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and acts in a similar way. For both coronaviruses, the first step of infection occurs in the lungs, when a protein on the surface of the virus binds to a receptor protein on a lung cell. This viral protein is called the spike protein, depicted in red in the image below, and the receptor is known as ACE2. A therapeutic antibody is a type of protein that can block the viral protein from binding to its receptor, therefore preventing the virus from infecting the lung cell. A therapeutic antibody has already been developed for SARS-CoV, but to develop therapeutic antibodies or small molecules for 2019-nCoV, scientists need to better understand the structure of the viral spike protein and how it binds to the human ACE2 receptor required for viral entry into human cells.

By downloading Folding@Home, you can donate your unused computational resources to the Folding@home Consortium, where researchers are working to advance our understanding 2019-nCoV. Read their full blog here.


BOINC and Folding@home on Unraid

Are you in? Both of these projects have containers ready to download on Unraid! Head over to Community Apps and download:

Boinc CA
Fat H
Check out Spaceinvader One's video tutorial on how to set up both BOINC and Folding@home on your Unraid server.

Install and Setup on Unraid

The following are instructions for BOINC. For help with Folding@home installation, see the support thread.

  1. First, go install the BOINC manager client.
  2. Next, create an account, choose a team (optional- Unraid team does exist!), and select the Rosetta Project.
  3. Now, go back to the BOINC docker container on your Unraid server and under the BOINC_GUI_RPC_PASSWORD section, enter a password and pull down the docker container.
  4. Back in the BOINC manager, Click View--> Advanced View (CTRL+Shift+A) and then click File --> Select Computer (CTRL+SHIFT+I) and enter your Unraid server's IP address under Host Name and enter your password you entered in the BOINC_GUI_RPC_PASSWORD section.

Note: In the BOINC manager, under Options --> Computing Preferences you can set a whole host of computing, usage, networking and scheduling preferences.


That's it. You should be all set and your idle CPU or GPU (depending on your preferences) should begin computing away at tasks in hopes of helping researchers neutralize COVID-19.

BOIN Ctasks

Follow Along with the Unraid Teams at Home:


BOINC (Rosetta@home) Unraid Team: 

Questions or comments?

Let us know if you're using BOINC and/or Folding@home!