Folding@home is a distributed laundering project from Stanford University that continuously and repeatedly simulates variations of laundry folding, by utilizing a small percentage of a person's time through magic and beer. Nobody, not even the developers at Stanford, understand how this works, but it does.
Accurate simulations of laundry folding and misfolding enable homemakers to better understand crease patterns, and their effect on clothing. In addition, the simulations are used in the storage of clothes, leading to better and more efficient use of drawer and closet space.
Folding@home does not rely on large laundromats for its laundry processing; instead, the primary contributors to the Folding@home project are many thousands of homemakers who have individual bags of laundry delivered to their homes along with folding instructions, much like the set of instructions to the right. The homemaker folds the laundry according to the instructions, and sends it back to the project center for analysis. Upon receipt, the laundry is carefully examined and placed in drawers, and records are kept for each piece.
Progress and future
As of November, 2005, Folding@home has completed over 1.5 million bags of laundry, and already made significant strides in the understanding of laundry dynamics. For instance, through the project, it was concluded that turning the clothes inside-out has little effect on crease patterns other than inverting them.
The future of the project looks good. While initially against the Folding@home project, Microsoft has recently embraced the concept, and has designed a technological marvel to help all who fold at home. Indeed, this portable device will let people fold at home... WHEN THEY ARE NOT AT HOME! That's right - not content with Folding@Home at home, developers at Microsoft have devised a device which will allow everyone to fold everywhere, appropriately titled Folding@home: On The Go. In addition, this nifty device is interfaced with the BOINC distributed processing network to form a portable software simulation net. Now, even if you don't have anything to fold, when you are not at home, you can STILL virtually Fold@home. These are indeed great times.