Folding at Home: Team Atheism


DrB here.

I heard you like science.

The Folding@Home project puts your computer to work as part of a global project to study methods of preventing and curing serious diseases.

From the Folding@Home website,

Protein folding is linked to disease, such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many Cancers.
Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. “misfold”), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.

What is protein folding?
Proteins are biology’s workhorses — its “nanomachines.” Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or “fold.” The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery.

How can you get involved? Go here:


Step 1: Download the program to your computer. Run the installer.

Step 2: After it finishes installing, you need to make sure it runs when you turn your computer on. You Mac/Linux/Playstation people are on your own for this step.

Windows people, look for the folder the program installed to. On my computer, it looks like this:

Right click that folder, and select “open.”

Then right click the “Folding@Home” program, and select “Create Shortcut”

This should create a shortcut icon in that same folder. Now, open your “Start up” folder (you can see mine in the first picture, just above the Folding@Home folder) the same way, right click -> Open.

Move the shortcut over into the “Startup” folder.

Mine looks like this:


What you have done is told your computer to run the folding program each time it boots up. Folding@Home runs in the background, and after this next part where you put in a username (optional) and team number (optional, but why not!) you never need to look at it again.

Down in the system tray, next to the clock, you should see the folding@home logo when the program is running. If you don’t see it, it might be hidden, so click the “<<” icon. Or the program isn’t running, and you just need to launch it from your start menu.

Step 3: Right click the icon, and select “Configure”


You should get a window that looks like this. Here you can enter any username you want, and input our team number.

Team Atheism is # 215665

Click Ok, and you’re done!

Now your computer is working behind the scenes to unlock clues to solving very real world problems.  The only necessary part is the install and making the program run at startup. You don’t have to input a username, or join a team to help the research.

If people don’t want to join Team Atheism, that’s perfectly fine. Here’s what I do ask though. 

Share this post with the instructions.

Get your friends and family and co-workers to join in the world effort to cure disease.


You can find me on twitter, @DrDavidBurger

I recruit in Kansas City,

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About doctorburger
  • Icaarus

    Why in the world are you making people use the horrible start instructions.

    I have been folding for years, on Version 7 for a while, and if you just set in preferences “start when windows logs in” you will not have to do the above.

    Also for the brave Version 7 will use multiple gpu’s and cpu’s, assigning appropriate work units where applicable

    • doctorburger

      Mostly I wanted to target the instructions to non-technical people; also it doesn’t appear that version 6.* has that ‘run at start’ checkbox, unless I’ve just missed it. Having that option would be much easier for people.

      Thanks for contributing to the project!

  • dave cortesi

    Well, I have a 4-core Mac that’s often idle and I’d love to join this, but unfortunately it seems the default (V6) client to which the above link leads is no good.

    It installed very easily but then did nothing (no folding or any other CPU work), and has no visualizer to show its work. When I went to the folding forum I quickly found someone having exactly the same experience with a long series of replies that left me extremely bemused as to the actual state of V6 and V7.

    I tried the V7 beta linked here in the comments and while it does seem to work, it is mud-ugly (I didn’t think anything could look worse than a TCL/TK app but they managed it) and worse, lacks controls. At least, I can’t find a way to throttle it, for example; it saturates all 4 cores and slows the system.

    The contrast to the Mac-friendliness of the “BOINC” client used by seti@home couldn’t be sharper. And, I see there is an American Atheists official team for Seti@Home. So maybe Mac users should install BOINC instead; it can be used for a variety of projects (not all of which will have atheist teams).

    • Icaarus

      If you change to expert mode you can both change the theme, and the smp number, I have a quad core processor, and smp level 3 (three threads). While running it will saturate the processors it is allowed to use, so either pause it when doing your own work, or set it to only use 3/4 or 1/2 of your processor all the time. pm me if you have further questions.

      ucicaarus at gmail

  • DKeane

    Rather than going the standard route and having a bunch of different atheist teams, why don’t the users join the Atheist/Humanists/Skeptics team that is already ranked 84 of all the folding teams? 182116. We could use your help.

    I know this is an old thread – but thought I’d make the suggestions