Nothing, other than getting the team name on the team stats page. The official team stats page shows only the top 100 teams.
The Folding@Home distributed computing project is all a volunteer effort on the part of those who participate. The participants volunteer their spare computing time along with the electricity necessary to run the computer.
In return the Stanford research project gets to make use of what is effectively the worlds largest and most powerful supercomputer.
The Folding application runs in the background and uses only idle CPU cycles. It does not steal CPU cycles from other processes running on your computer. Idle CPU cycles are by definition idle and would have gone unused. I run the Folding application and I don’t even notice that it’s running.
The only thing I did is adjust the preferences in the Folding application to only use at most 96% of the CPU rather than keeping the CPU pegged at 100% all the time. That gives other idle priority tasks (like the auto-spell in Word and auto-completion in IE) more CPU cycles to do their thing.
Mostly it’s just a geeky way to have fun and a way to say that you’re doing something constructive even if you’re not.
More info about the project is on the Folding@Home home page.
@ Paco: Folding@Home and Genome@Home both give points to our team as long as you specify our team. I believe that Genome@Home is more concentrated on mapping the human genome and Folding@Home is more concerned about finding out how proteins do their things. Both help cure diseases and such, so it really doesn’t matter.
@ Onefiftyfour: As far as I can tell the sending and receiving of work units doesn’t tax the network I’m connected to. I don’t even notice when it’s sending things in, other than that my CPU temp drops.
Folding@Home projects will get you more points per day than Genome@Home projects.
However, Genome@Home has some advantages. Genome@Home projects have no deadline so you can take as long as you want to finish a work unit. You can also download Genome@Home work units in batches. So if you want to use a computer that has sporadic net access or a computer that is going to be off the net for a while, the Genome@Home projects in batch mode could keep the computer busy.
The Folding@Home projects all have deadlines. If you don’t complete the work unit that you were assigned within the deadline then it will be assigned to someone else and you’ll get no points. Their benchmark machine is a 500 MHz Celeron computer running F@H about 10 hours per day. So a Celeron 500 running 10 hours per day will be able to finish a work unit just at the deadline.
That will tell you how many frames you have to do for your work unit. In this case my work unit has 400 frames.
Then look in the log file to see how long it is taking to compute a frame.
[02:17:00] Finished a frame (9)
[02:26:59] Finished a frame (10)
Here it is taking me about 10 minutes per frame. With 400 frames it will take me about 67 hours to complete this work unit.
Then open the file “unitinfo.txt”. It will look like this:
Current Work Unit
Download time: January 29 00:45:19
Due time: March 19 00:45:19
Progress: 35% [|||_______]
In that file you can see the due date. You can now estimate if you are going to be able to make the due date or not.
If you are going to miss the due date or come close to the due date then you’ll be better off switching to the Genome@Home projects. The team will still get points when you complete work and you won’t have to worry about deadlines.
This is great. After all the posts about Folding @ Home, there’s actually some discussion about it. Now that I’ve got started, I’d like to ask how long it generally takes to finish a work unit. If I’m reading it right, I’m finishing a work unit in about 6 minutes. In a 400 WU project, I’d be finishing it in about 40 hours, right? That sounds about right?
That’s interesting. When I have it running, I do notice a slight decrease in performance. It’s not much, but it is enough that I notice it. For most of what I do, it’s not critical that I have max performance so I leave it running most of the time, but I am a fan of my flight sims and I find I need to close folding@home in order to get the max out of my cpu. I’m running a pentiumIII 866.
That sounds right. But not all work units are the same. Some take more time than others. Generally you get more points for the ones that take longer, but not always. There’s some rogue units that take more time than they should based on their points.
There is a utility called Electron Microscope that keeps track of the work units you’ve done. It also tracks how long it takes to do each work unit and other stats.
And while I’m here I’ll give out a big woot! to Michael Grant for reaching (almost) 50,000 points, Steve Howard the closet geek for reaching 20,000 points, and Dave (Uni57) the silly one for reaching 10,000 points. Woot!
Yup, that’s why I set the CPU utilization in F@H to 96% rather than 100%. I also pause F@H when I do things like video capture. If I was a gamer I’d shut it off during games. But for most day to day stuff I leave it running 24x7 with no noticeable effects.
I just installed on my two computers here at home today and will install on the two at work (much faster) on Monday. I’m also going to talk to one of my co-workers who’s an admin of a cluster and see if he’ll install on there. That might knock us into the top 100!
Okay, so I’m done with three WU’s and have already started working on a fourth. Why is it that only two of my three completed WU’s are showing up on the team and personal statistics pages? The folding @ home program says I’ve done three. How come I don’t have the points?
BTW, my secret code name is “Warabi.”