The simulations researchers need to carry out are typically very long running and complex, each of which would take several months to run on a single device. Instead, researchers split up each simulation for a given drug candidate into shorter running research tasks: much smaller and more manageable pieces. These pieces of work can be run independently and simultaneously on a volunteer devices.
However for FightAIDS@Home – Phase 2, the research tasks within a single drug candidate simulation are dependent on each other where the output of one task is used as the input to the next. This means longer research tasks within each drug candidate simulation which can’t be run simultaneously.
To handle this complexity, we are using two different, but related mechanisms called trickle messaging and intermediate uploads to allow us to track your progress through a research task and manage the handover of that task from one volunteer to the next to get it completed in the shortest time possible. This way, we can track the progress of the long simulations to ensure that computations are not delayed or lost, while the researchers get the valuable results back as quickly as possible. In addition, volunteers acquire their credits sooner too.