Committed singers on hold

Committed singers on hold

Regensburg Cathedral Boys’ Choir © Sebastian Widmann (KNA)

A high-level musical education and an ideal environment for young researchers do not have to be mutually exclusive: For years, Regensburg’s Cathedral Boys’ Choir has been a frontrunner in the "Youth Research" competition. What are their plans now?

They are currently trying to help develop a vaccine or drug against Covid-19, according to choir management in Regensburg on Tuesday. In order for the choir to be able to sing in front of many listeners again as soon as possible, the Domspatzen made their modern digital infrastructure available for the research. With the computing power of 78 computers and two high-performance computers, proteins would be virtually folded, they said.

Since the computer room had already been out of use for some time, it was decided to make the entire computing power available to the "[email protected]" project, explains Jonathan Treffler. The student of 11. A fifth-grade teacher and system administrator at the Domspatzen high school, Paul Kutzer had the idea to participate in the project.

"[email protected]" has made it its mission to find cures for diseases, with the help of computer simulations of proteins, they said. Stanford University started the project in 2000.

Supporting the fight against Corona

"You can choose there which research projects you want to support specifically," Treffler explained. It quickly became clear that the Domspatzen wanted to support the fight against Corona. "We’ve had to completely shut down our choir operations because of the necessary restrictions," says cathedral conductor Christian Heib. Since a few days ago, choirs are allowed to start rehearsing in groups again. However, it is not yet possible to think of singing in chorus in several voices.

According to the statement, Treffler checks the servers daily and checks the devices. Protein folding is a technical and virtual simulation of how a virus behaves when it encounters certain substances. A large number of specific constellations of proteins are simulated in the process.

Since there are many scenarios to try out, the computers could save the researchers a lot of manual work. Currently, according to Treffler, there are more than 2.7 million users worldwide who participated in the project. The Domspatzen are currently among the best 12 in the ranking of the participants.000. "Our computers are new and therefore also very efficient."

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