The decentralized computing power-sharing network Golem has partnered with software firm Allchemy for a program exploring the origins of life on Earth.
The program, called LIFE@Golem, harnesses Golem’s computing power in an attempt to recreate billions of chemical reactions and molecular bonds to trace how the first forms of life could have started on the planet. Working with Allchemy — no apparent connection to blockchain developer Alchemy — Golem’s infrastructure makes it possible to simulate far greater numbers of molecules.
“Although research in this arena is decades-old, it has never been conducted on similar scales, boosted by a state-of-the-art computerized synthesis engine deployed on a global platform such as Golem,” said the project. “The algorithm will be tracing synthetic pathways that could have enabled primitive metabolism and self-replication.”
The overwhelming majority of scientists tend to agree that following the bonding of amino acids to create the first proteins in Earth’s primordial soup, some of the first organisms were thought to be microbes dwelling in the ocean near hydrothermal vents, possibly more than 3.4 billion years ago. LIFE@Golem’s algorithm, implemented on Golem’s infrastructure, assumes a starting point of nine types of molecules — purportedly including ammonia, water, nitrogen, methane, hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulfide — present somewhere in the primordial ocean and applies plausible reaction rules to determine how long and under what conditions early life may have formed.
According to the project team, it is approaching the 10th generation with roughly 1 billion molecules formed. Golem’s community node operators make the computations behind such a large number of chemical reactions and conditions possible.
“The project demonstrates to the blockchain community that reputable life-sciences partners such as Allchemy see practical potential in Golem and can prove it by utilizing the protocol,” said Golem Factory founder and CEO Piotr Janiuk. “It lays down a framework (or process) to interconnect scientific facilities to the protocol — almost on demand.”
Blockchain firms have previously partnered with scientific companies to simulate chemical reactions and model molecular structures. In the early stages of the pandemic last year, Bitfury contributed to distributed computing endeavor Folding@Home to better understand the structure of the virus causing COVID-19.