Saskatchewan

Regina Public Library donating computer time remotely to help scientists

The computers and servers at the library are being donated remotely to work on the Folding@home Project.

The computers and servers at the library are being donated remotely to work on the Folding@home Project

The digital media studio is usually for people to record and edit music and movies. Now, it's being used by scientists remotely. (Regina Public Library)

Computers at the Regina Public Library are working overtime to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. 
 
The library closed when the City of Regina shuttered public facilities. Other books and resources are sitting on shelves, but the computers are running at full capacity. 
 
It's all part of the Folding@home Project, which has private users donate unused computers to crunch data from a distance for scientists researching the COVID-19 disease. 

Five computers from the library's digital media studio and four servers are being used for the project. 

"Each server is the equivalent of a large number of average desktop computers — that's a lot of power," Kevin Saunderson, senior manager of corporate services, said in a release.

The computers are usually public workstations for editing video and sound. The Regina Public Library says they'll be helping as long as needed. 

"In times of need, supporting our community is the right thing to do," says Saunderson. "If we can help contribute during the pandemic, then we will do so in any way we can."

The Regina Public Library computers and servers are being used by scientists remotely. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

Folding@home has a goal of getting 1,000,000 computers crunching data, according to its website. It is named because it is dedicated to understanding "protein folding," the process where a protein self-assembles itself to do its work in the body. 

If a protein misfolds, that can lead to diseases. Thus the project seeks to understand how and why this happens through technology. 

Learn, watch, read from home 

People at home in Saskatchewan can still access library resources for free online using their library card:

For the news: 

  • Press Reader.
  • RBDigital.
  • Canadian Major Dailies.

To learn something new: 

  • Lynda.com.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Gale Courses.
  • Brainfuse.
  • Mango Languages.
  • Auto Repair Source.
  • Kanopy.

Ebooks and eAudio books: 

  • Overdrive.
  • Hoopla.
  • TumbleBook Library.

Streaming movies, television and music: 

  • Hoopla.
  • Kanopy.
  • Naxos Video Library, Music Library, Jazz and Works.
  • NFB Campus.

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