Originally Posted by abombthecoder
Some really good answers here, and I see it's not just about scientific research, there's just a lot of satisfaction with the sexy computing going on.
On some further research I found two good posts that pretty much say what it seems like, that F@H isn't very useful:
check out the poosts by m0002a
The synopsis is that the problems that F@H solves aren't the difficult ones and they aren't the bottlenecks faced by medical research community. If biomed's need some results, they cheaply and efficiently rent a small amount of time on a super computer for some serious number crunching that the F@H can't compete with. None of the 79 research papers based on F@H have any biochemists as authors, every paper has least one F@H author on it, and most of the papers are by Stanford computer scientists. The pharmaceutical industry does not find the project useful nor do medical researchers outside of standford. It looks to me like F@H is an awesome computer science project and the department that is running it is playing the funding game that is nearly ubiquitous in academia these days.
That first link may be a valid criticism, yet going to the full thread I saw multiple people who claimed to be in that field saying the project was useful. The top-rated comment was from a pharmacologist saying that he does drug design that directly uses some of F@h's results. The second link was someone with an extreme distaste for FAH using a couple of unsubstantiated sources to make sweeping claims about the field of biochemistry as a whole.
I'm not sure why every paper having at least one F@h author on it is an issue. It's F@h's distribution system and chances are pretty good that any one of the grad students or professors within the F@h network are going to get top priority on using it. Are you expecting GlaxoSmithKline to be requesting to set up projects? One, they have tons of money to build their own supercomputers, but from some of the discussion on this topic it sounds like they're not particularly motivated to do a lot of the basic research because it's not immediately profitable. Two, I'm sure there are a number of people who would be turned off by directly helping a big pharmaceutical company. Also of note is that F@h is federally funded; I'm guessing they can't legally let a private corporation use the system if that company would have sole ownership of the results, and a big pharma company isn't going to let their drug candidates be public knowledge right off the bat.
Take a look at some of the most recent papers here
. In particular, I'd like to point out:
#100: A separate Stanford research team used some of F@h's research to help them in designing better AIDS and cancer treatments.
#96: New strategies for fighting Alzheimer's, to be followed up with a push towards a viable drug.
#101: Working with experimentalists to test the legitimacy of F@h's results.
If this were just the Pande lab playing the funding game, then why are there research groups in several other universities, including multiple ones outside the US, so interested in using it?Edited by Zagen30 - 8/14/13 at 3:09pm