Ingress, Folding@Home, Supporting Beirut and more

I joined Folding@Home Ingress Japan Cross Faction team to contribute my spare CPU/GPU to help fight Covid-19.

What is Folding@Home?

Folding@Home is a project to create a supercomputer with distributed computing model with help from people all over the world, and use it to help understand SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and develop new therapies, toward a potent, patent-free drug and vaccines

We're all staying at home, so that we can avoid getting infected, as well as avoid others being infected. But is staying at home the only things we can do? What if there was a way for us to contribute our computing power to help fight COVID-19? Folding@Home is a project that enables just that.

According to their website, the team uncovered novel protein structures that were previously inaccessible to the research community, and currently screening for potential drugs to target these structures as a part of the COVID Moonshot Collaboration. It is an open science, open source, pro-bono effort, so that those research results are going to be accessible to all.

Many people from tech industry are joining as the ambassador of the project such as Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft),  Dr. Lisa Su (President & CEO of AMD), Jensen Huang (CEO of Nvidia), Patrick P. Gelsinger (CEO of VMware), with companies like Cisco and Intel as contributors.

There seems to be at least 8 Folding@Home teams from Ingress community, 2 Teams from Japan- INGRESS_Japan (cross faction team), and Ingress_Enlightened_Jp (Enlightened Faction team).

Top ranking teams seems to be large organizations like NVIDIA ranking #5, VM Ware and Intel being #24 and #25 respectively and CERN & LHC Computing ranking #17, while the Ingress Enlightened team is now ranking #90 (!).

I think it is really fitting that the Ingress community is working on such project for 3 reasons:

1) Ingress community has lots of tech-savvy people.
2) Ingress players are fighting to save the humanity in this game- while the Enlightened faction believes the XM will help humanity evolve, the Resistance faction believes XM should be controlled and is trying to protect humanity from its influence. The direction may be different, but the goal for both factions is to save the world and humanity.
3) In order to play Ingress, we need to go out and walk around the neighborhood, and in doing so, we start seeing what is going on in the society, what the issues are, and sometimes trying to solve them. And in most cases, the players (called agents) are proactively doing those activities on their own as a community.

Some of the older examples include:

- Ingress agents + neighborhood safety: Agents walk around in the neighborhood to play Ingress anyways, so in some cities like Tennouji and Moriya, they collaborated with the local governments to do volunteer neighborhood watch activities. 

- Ingress agents + clean up: Agents started #ClearFieldChallenge activities, doing clean up while running Ingress First Saturday events.

- Ingress agents + blood donation: Agents walking around noticed the Japan Red Cross is seeking for blood donation, and started an activity called "Red Faction" in collaboration with Japan Red Cross. Through this activity, thousands of agents donated their blood for those in need.

- Ingress agents + community contributions: Team Hikyaku's submission video for Operation Ko Lan showed how the team had been contributing to the community through raising awareness of donations for breast cancer, homeless, and blood donations. After natural disasters like heavy rain and flooding, the Ingress community went to support the affected people.

What are agents doing recently?

- Supporting Beirut: On August 4th, 2020 there was a big explosion in Beirut, where thousands of people have lost their homes, possessions, and loved ones. Ingress community organized a Virtual Ingress First Saturday event in Beirut on September 5th, with over 900 signups. Participants donated to Lebanese Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as donate swags to contribute, ran auctions of Ingress related items to donate the proceeds.

During the event they showed us some drone footages from on the grounds, and activities that the Red Cross is doing.

Group photo:

Recap post

And it looks like other Ingress First Saturday events started to spread the word for #HelpBeirut - this one is from First Saturday in Vienna.

Also, agents started to make banner missions in Ingress to raise awareness with #HelpBeirut. 

Makes us feel again, that Ingress is #morethanagame

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer. -Fumi Yamazaki


Relics of Kanto Through Time

I was showing some of my pictures from an exhibition in Tokyo called "Relics of Kanto Through Time" by an artist Daniel Arsham who works on sculptures with the concept of "Fictional Archaeology" to several of my friends overseas. They really appreciated seeing it, so thought I'd share it on my blog :)(I did get explicit permission to take photos there)

Exhibit website

From press release:
In this exhibition, Arsham transforms various Pokémon into artworks. For instance, through encountering a sculpture of Pikachu that has fossilized with crystals observed on the inside, we as viewers can perceive a character that is familiar to us within the two-dimensional world of video games and animation in three-dimensional world that we live in. However, these works also come to harbor a four-dimensional context that includes the concept of time, as we are led to imagine the very time that it takes for us too to fossilize.
Photos of the exhibit below, and by the way, some Pokémon was curious about the exhibit and came out to watch (and sometimes photobombed the pictures!)

Pikachu. Look at the details of his hairs!

Pikachu came to see the exhibit.

And even photobombed!

Pokémon logo

Charizard Pokémon card plaque 

Pikahu and Ash.









Blastoise Pokémon card plaque



Daniel, the Pokémon company and Uniqlo did a collaboration of this project and are selling this T-shirt series

In fact, I actually purchased this T-shirt initially not knowing about this collaboration, and was a big surprise when I found out about the exhibit, and of course I wore this T-shirt when I went to the exhibit :)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer. -Fumi Yamazaki