Photo: Donald Eng / Hearst Conecticut Media
TRUMBULL — As the landlord of a virtual reality gaming company, Igor Lotkin is used to combating computer viruses. Now even though, Lotkin’s 10 state of the art gaming computers are a part of a world-wide effort to battle the coronavirus via sheer computing energy.
“Research facilities from around the world are networking to run protein-folding programs as part of the research into coronavirus,” Lotkin stated Monday as high-definition screens regularly up to date the standing of protein simulations at his store, Xperiment Virtual Reality within the Hawley Lane mall.
“That computer over there is running a test for Memorial Sloan Kettering,” he stated pointing to certainly one of his virtual gaming stations. The observe signifies that the simulation is 42 p.c entire, and can take any other two hours to complete.
“These protein sequences apparently are extremely large programs,” he stated. “Yesterday, we ran a test that took over 10 hours to run. But on a standard business laptop, it would have taken over 900 hours.”
Lotkin’s computers are networked right into a venture known as Folding At Home, a Stanford University-created venture that organizers describe as a “distributed computing project for disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design and other types of molecular dynamics.”
According to the Folding At Home web page, the venture has helped research Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, plus Dengue Fever, zika and ebola.
Volunteers donate their idle computer time via a world-wide database that fits them with initiatives wanting large-scale computing. Lotkin stated the coronavirus outbreak has left him with a number of idle computer time.
“On a normal Saturday, we would do $1,500 to $2,000 in business,” he stated. “This weekend we did $80.”
The downside for Lotkin is that his business calls for other folks to collect in a gaggle and fix a virtual reality masks to their face — two issues well being government are recommending in opposition to. The headsets are sanitized and sealed after each and every use, however that doesn’t carry other folks within the door, he stated.
“We had three school field trips booked this week, but they are canceled,” he stated. “That was $2,000 right there.”
And even though many companies are in a an identical money-losing state of affairs, no less than, Lotkin stated, he is able to combat again.
“I’m here, I’ve got the computing and enhanced graphics power,” he stated. “Let’s get a cure.”
More knowledge at the business will also be discovered at https://www.xperimentvr.com/.