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Large folding operation

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, my friend and I have gotten together and made a small proposal to our university ITS department asking them to use the on-campus lab computer for folding purposes.

My friend's dad runs one of the labs (which I work for; also the largest) and has offered his computers for a "trial" run of folding.

That's all great, and we did get some good news today. ITS gave us one of their surplus xeon desktops to tinker with for 24/7 folding. We've been allowed to set up our own team too.

But, I do have some questions:

First, the lab we will be running a trial in has about 50 computers in it. Each one is connected to a master computer that is used for cloning and push updates. How would we configure the setup for maximum optimization? Would we run a client (dual core, so the SMP client?) for each computer and let it get its assignments on its own? Or would it be best to use the master computer to assign tasks? Naturally, if the latter is the case, is there anywhere that I could read up on configuring such a situation?

I will update with computer specs when I get them. We have 2 weeks for a trial before the dean is required to approve the project.

Also, the CPUs only run during the day, so it won't be 24/7 folding.

Thanks guys! Really hope to get this up and running. Our college has tons of surplus computers that we might be able to use. Plus, tons of servers that idle all day, with labs that run 16 hours per day that do nothing. Hopefully we can put them to good use!
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post #2 of 14
Sounds good to me.
I don't think there is a way to have a master client and have everything working like that. Every computer will have to have their own OS and their own clients running, which would take quite a bit of time to set everything up.
post #3 of 14
NAh set up one client on a flash drive and copy it to the other computers...if there all the same...if you wanted them as services you would want to install them on all the pcs then just copy and paste the client.cfg file. easy way.
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
We know that it will take a long time to get everything up and running. The big issue is that each CPU is only turned on during the day if a student turns it on. So a computer running an individual client can easily miss a day of folding.

I just assumed that there would be some type of master/slave system set up for large individual setups/servers. How hard would it be to get something started like that and what would it take?
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
The idea of the master computer is that you apply what you want to it, and the rest of the computers connected to it simply update themselves to match the master. So if I want Google Chrome installed, all I do is install Google Chrome on the master, push an update, and all of the computers are cloned to match the master.
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post #6 of 14
I'm not sure you can do that with folding. I think you have to manually set everything up.
post #7 of 14
create an OS image using the master computer with the folding client built in and configured to the username, pump the image out to the 50 computers and then all you have to do is run the clients but you still need a client on each computer the master computer wont be able to be used to hand out units, everything comes from stanford servers so just use the clients as normal
post #8 of 14
What kind of OS are you trying to run this under?
You could have it scheduled to start and stop possibly.
Not sure how you could stop it, but I know how you could most certainly start it.
post #9 of 14
The master may work but the remedy of a student powering down the pc is run it in the start folder or run the clients as a service on all the pcs...I think you would have to use the install process to make that happen. Unless you know where the service is registered install it to a flash drive or the master and make a batch file to install the service...but given the time that would take you could run the install file on all the computers. the .cfg file is the main file to keep...You can wipe out a folding at home folder with nothing but the FAH .exe file and the .cfg file and it rebuilds itself.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
For now, we are using Vista 32-bit. Starting and stopping isn't an issue, as I can set F@H to begin when the computer is booted. At 11pm on most days, every computer in the lab is turned on for updates. This is all managed by the master computer. Once my boss approves the update list, the master sends out the updates to the computerswhere they are installed, rebooted, then shutdown automatically. The computers will not start again until a student comes in and actively turns it on. Once on, the computer will stay on until time for updates.

Typically, the first computers are turned on around 7:30 when the lab opens. By the afternoon, around 90% are on and 70% are being used.

Another question we came up with is stability. Obviously, the priority with these computers is stability, with "speed" close behind. Since these computers are dual-core, would it be better to run one individual client per core, or use the SMP client?
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