Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Donates Computing Power to COVID-19 Study

A simulation of the SARS-CoV-2 region dubbed Nsp12, which helps make new copies of the virus. It is one of several targets for researchers using Folding@Home (FAH)

Published Apr 30, 2020 8:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has announced that it is dedicating its unused computing power to the Folding@Home Project (FAH), a distributed computing service that helps researchers simulate protein folding and movement in diseases like COVID-19. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented global impact, and when we learned about the unique Folding@Home initiative, we immediately knew we had to help,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “We have an enormous amount of idle computing power at hand, given our ships are currently restricted from their normal operations, and this program gives us a way to utilize those resources, helping researchers who are working around the clock to find a coronavirus cure. We’re proud to be part of this project, and we are asking our industry partners and peers to commit their resources to the effort."

Through the Folding@Home project, scientists can use donated computing power from anywhere in the world to run simulations, including studies targeting the virus that causes COVID-19. The software is free and available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The more computing time donated to the cause, the more simulations scientists can run.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line says that it joined the FAH project in early April and has donated computer resources from its offices, as well as the cruise ships Grand Classica and Grand Celebration. It says that while its contributions have already made an impact, researchers need access to more computing power to find a cure. 

“Now more than ever, the travel industry needs to band together and donate our resources to help researchers find a vaccine and successfully end this pandemic,” said Khosa.

More than 120 FAH projects targeting the novel coronavirus have launched within the past three weeks alone, the organization says. As an example, the Huang lab at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has released a series of Folding@Home projects that simulate protein complexes involved in the virus' replication, part of research to screen existing drugs for use against COVID-19.