What, how, and why?
- What is folding? Folding is a worldwide distributed computing effort conducted by Stanford University to understand how proteins assemble themselves. The real world applications of this research includes potential cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, and Parkinson's. Nearly everyone's life has been touched by someone who has had one of these diseases or one of the many other diseases this research is aiming to cure. For more information, please see Stanford's [email protected] website.
- How can I join Overclock.net's team? Simply go here, download the program, and enter team number 37726 to start folding for our team. Post your folding name in this thread to receive the nifty folding icon in your postbit. This icon will appear approximately 24 hours after you have both completed your first work unit and have posted in that thread. Please do not post in this thread until your name appears on Stanford's site in the link above as it will cause potentially significant delays in getting your postbit info.
- Why should I fold? What's in it for me? In addition to the knowledge that you're contributing to a very good cause, we offer contests and prizes to our folding team members.
- I don't have a high powered folding farm. Can I still win prizes? Absolutely! We offer a team competition that's perfect for non-power folders. The folding power of each four person team is limited so no individual folder is too small to contribute.
- What does it cost? The software is free, and there are no fees of any kind for participating in folding. If you fold 24/7 and/or have several computers folding, you will likely notice a small increase in your electric bill.
[email protected] software
- Which operating systems can I use to fold? Windows (98SE through Vista), Linux, and Mac OS X. There are also clients for certain video cards and Playstation 3s.
- Which versions of the folding client are available? The list of primary clients and their uses are as follows:
- Windows console - most basic folding client, can run multiple instances on multi-core CPUs
- Windows graphical - more robust client with a rendering of the protein being studied as well as production info, can only run one copy per computer, can conflict with programs that use OpenGL for graphics
- Windows SMP - for use on high end multi-core systems, has very short deadlines but is extremely efficient
- Linux SMP - even more efficient than Windows SMP, the current top producer, can be run on systems that support virtualization technology through VMWare (for more info, see bdatillo's SMP Guide for Linux SMP through VMWare).
- Video cards - for use on select newer video cards, requires a some CPU core as well (i.e. if you choose to fold on both GPU and CPU, both clients will likely fold somewhat less effectively than if only one client was used, but the overall result will be better than only using one client).
- Playstation 3 - the name says it all
- Now that I know what the clients are, which one should I use? The client you select can have a major impact on your production rate, and the selection depends on your system (i.e. specifications) and how you use your computer (e.g. if you leave it on 24/7, if you game a lot, etc.) The GPU client on high end video cards is the current fastest client. On Core2Duo, quad core, and faster AMD dual core systems, the SMP client is the most productive. Those systems can generally meet the tight deadlines on SMP work units and receive a lot of points as a result. Linux SMP is the fastest followed by Linux SMP though VMWare and Windows SMP. SMP is generally not suitable for older dual core systems unless they are very heavily overclocked. On those systems, two instances of the Windows console (the GPU2 client works well with older CPUs, particularly on Vista). For older systems or ones that do not run for all/most of the day, the Windows console or Windows graphical clients are the most appropriate. Both fold at approximately the same rate, so the selection is mostly a matter of personal preference. Folders who run software that uses OpenGL for graphics (primiarly games) may want to avoid the graphical client due to some known incompatibilities.
- Will folding slow my computer down? The folding application only uses idle clock cycles, meaning that if another application has need of the CPU, the folding application will decrease its usage until the other application's needs have been satisfied. The only drain on system resources is the RAM that's utilized, which remains utilized even when other applications are using the CPU.
- Why do I keep getting the same WU? Is it normal to get the same WU as someone else? Is project is comprised of thousands of WUs, so it is absolutely normal to get the same WU repeatedly on one or more computers. Each WU is a small piece of a much larger puzzle.
Ways to improve folding speed and your folding experience
- GPU2. If you have a very high end card that can run the GPU2 client, it is by far the best way to improve folding performance. Mid-range high end GPUs can produce scores similar to SMP on a mid to high end system.
- SMP. Most mutli-core systems can run the SMP client on a Linux OS, and multi-core systems that support virtualization technology can run the SMP client in Windows using a program called VMWare (see guide). There is also a Windows SMP client available for those who do not want to use Linux. The early feedback is that the Windows SMP client is a bit slower than the Linux version, but that the Windows version runs several degrees cooler.
- How do I increase the efficiency of my folding? Check out this FAQ by Stainless. In particular, the -forceasm and -advmethods flags are very beneficial on many comptuers.
- Are there any tools to help me manage my folding farm? Check here for many third party tools, including ones that help to monitor folding progress on groups of computers (many work great on single computers as well). My personal favorite is FahMon.
- I love guides and FAQs. Where can I find some? There is a wealth of member created guides in the [email protected] forum Essential Threads sticky. Be sure to check this thread regularly for the newest, best, and most timely guides and FAQs.
How am I doing? What are other people using to fold?
- How can I keep track of my folding progress? [email protected] statistics can be found on our site (updated daily), on the EOC Folding site (updated every three hours), on the KakaoStats site (updated every three hours), and on the Stanford site (updated hourly).
- The estimated time to complete my current work unit is 23 years. Is that right? For the first set of frames, the folding application estimates 30 minutes per frame, regardless of how fast your computer is. On work units with very large numbers of frames, this results in a very unrealistic completion estimate. Once approximately 1% of the work unit is complete, the estimated time to complete will be fairly accurate.
- How long should this work unit take to complete? Work units (WUs) vary greatly as does the time it takes to complete them on different computers. Some WUs will take only a few hours on high end computers while some low end computers may take a month or longer to complete a WU. Generally, faster computers will take between a day and a week to complete a large WU.
- What do other members' farms look like, and how do I show off my folding farm? Check out other folders' farms and share you own in the Overclock.Net Folding Rig Showcase/Database.
- I'm having problems with folding. How can I get help? Check the [email protected] Forum to see if others have had similar problems, and feel free to post any questions you may have as well.
- I can't transmit completed WUs to Standford's server. What can I do? If you have successfully submitted completed work in the past, it is most likely a server error. Check this page to see if the server you're attempting to reach is currently up. Look in your folding window for the IP address of the server, find it in the left column on the page linked above, and check the status to the right. It shold read Accept or Accepting if everything is good on their end. If it's a persistent problem, the issue is most likely on your end. The most common problem is having enabled the Connect with Internet Explorer option. Run through the configuration again, selecting No for this option, and that should take care of the issue.
Who's in charge?
- Who runs our folding team? Day to day operation of our folding team is handled by Gibsonnova74, Director of the [email protected] forum and Taeric, OCN's General Manager. As with all of the other functions of Overclock.net, admin has the final say on all major issues.
- What is a "folding farm"? That is a commonly used term for the group of computers a single user devotes to the folding cause.
- What is a "folding team"? Within Overclock.net's team (team 37726) there is a competition among four member folding teams. See above for info on the team competition.