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Folding


Corillian
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Has anyone heard of folding??? I first got started in it by a magaizine i read, Custom pc, and have joined their team.

 

From the custompc fan forums section on folding

Folding@home is basically a distributed computing app, which means that it combines the power of thousands of computers to create a worldwide supercomputer. there are lots of CPU clock cycles that don't get used when your PC is idle, and Folding@home takes advantage of these.

 

You've probally allready heard of SETI@home, which uses this principle to look for aliens, and Folding@home is very similar, except that it simulates how proteins fold for medical research.

 

You can down load the client from: http://folding.standford.edu/download.html

 

 

From the stanford folding site

Our goal: to understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases

 

What is protein folding and how is folding linked to disease? Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery.

 

Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.

 

You can help by simply running a piece of software. Folding@Home is a distributed computing project -- people from through out the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer makes the project closer to our goals.

 

Folding@Home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems thousands to millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.

 

 

The good thing about folding is, you can help medical research, just by keeping your pc on, simple really.

If you want to help out, you can download the client up at the top. To learn how to set up your folding client, go Here. You do not have to join the custompc team, but can just stay non-alligned.

 

Thanks, oh by the way, my folding username is Corillian

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I did write a reply showing where this and specifically einstein@home had been discussed elsewhere on the forums, but I somehow managed to make the reply in a completely different thread.... a quick use of the search will find the thread though....

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Well, i personally think folding is as important or even more so than things such as seti@home, due to the factor that it is finding ways to improve the lives of ill people, NOW.

 

 

P.s. I suppose this means, you want this thread closed???

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Folding@Home is kind of pointless. They're trying to do the same thing as the world's most powerful supercomputer, BlueGene. BlueGene is doing an atom by atom simulation of protein folding pathways and kinetics, which as I understand depends largely on proper modeling of Gibbs Free Energy.

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The good thing about folding is, you can help medical research, just by keeping your pc on, simple really.

 

No, it's not just a matter of simply "keeping your PC on", it's a matter of having it consume full-load CPU power at personal cost to you. It costs THEM nothing, but it can cost you $10-30/year or more (in theory).

 

People have a general impression that they're contributing "free CPU cycles", which was understandable back when CPUs used very little power. Today's CPUs can use 100 watts or more. So the question becomes "Would you leave a 100 watt lightbulb on 24/7 for this cause?"

 

Still nothing WRONG with it, of course, and as I pointed out above, the cost is generally pretty low. And it could very well be a noble and valuable contribution (or are you just giving someone else a valuable patent opportunity?). But people should understand that it's not free.

 

Note that many of the newest CPUs consume considerably LESS power than the previous generation, and some of the most powerful ones are down to peaking at around 65 watts or so. That's much better, but it's still a considerable amount of power and those are not the CPUs that are currently installed in people's machines.

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The newer cpu's have 2 cores although clocked at a lower speed, can process 2 threads at once, they are also more energy efficient. You do not even have to keep it on specially for folding. I only fold on my laptop when doing something else on it. Therefore i am using all the clock cycles i don't need.

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Um, no.

 

Having two cores does mean that it can process two threads at the same time, as you point out. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't consume ANY energy. So your conclusion that you're donating "clock cycles you don't need" is false. If the computer is sitting idle, it's sitting idle. If it's processing data, it's not sitting idle, and it is consuming more electricity.

 

Again, I'm just dispelling myths and misconceptions here, not trying to cast any negative aspersions on distributed computing or worthy causes. I just think people should understand that what they're donating is not "free" or "spare" or "unused" or "just by keeping your PC on", etc. There is a cost.

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I use a program called CpuIdle. It takes the extra CPU cycles and executes the HLT command which puts the CPU into a power saving more for that cycle. (http://www.cpuidle.de/works.php)

 

I've done tests with my computer and I’ve noticed that the idle core temperature drops about 10C when I have CpuIdle running. My UPS tells me how many watts the computer is using and although I don’t remember the exact number of Watts saved when CpuIdle was running, it was fairly significant.

 

I ran folding for a while until I realized it was keeping my CPU at high temperatures (thus decreasing its lifespan, not that it really matters) and was consuming more electricity.

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Pleiades, you realize it won't "fold" (or do anything else) while it's idle, right? HLT is short for "halt", after all. Sure, you're reducing the overall temperature, but you're not lowering the cost of running folding@home one iota. You're lowering the overall cost of running the computer. If you stopped running F@H you'd see it get even cooler.

 

TANSTAAFL

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Many CPUs, particularly the Core, support dynamically adjusting the clock speed. CPUs consume energy in the form of irreversible operations (most notably trying to put electricity through a reverse biased semiconductor and having it "blocked" in the form of heat) so if you clock your CPU down you will reduce the number of these operations and thus the amount of energy your CPU consumes. Consequently clocking your CPU up will increase the number of irreversible operations and thus the amount of heat your CPU puts out. Contrarily clocking your CPU higher causes it to heat up.

 

If you're looking for a good way to save energy, throttling your CPU down is a great way to do it. This is a standard energy saving feature on many operating systems, as when a minimal number of programs are being executed the CPU does not need to run at the excessive speeds allowed by today's technology.

 

There's hope on the horizon though. Irreversible operations are not a necessary component of a CPU architecture except in the case of error correction, and even in modern CPU architectures the fundamental logic of their operation is comprised largely of irreversible operations (e.g. bleeding electricity as heat)

 

There's hope on the horizon! If CPUs could be constructed using only physically reversible processes, then only a minimal amount of energy (whatever the system naturally "leaks" and whatever is required for error correction) is required in order for it to perform computation. This idea is known as reversible computing.

 

As long as we're using reverse biased semiconductors as one of the tools for representing 0s and 1s (generally the zeroes) our CPUs are going to waste a lot of energy.

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That’s not what I meant; I never suggested there was a cheaper way to run folding. I don’t run folding on my computer. What I mean is that there are 3 things my computer can do while I’m not using it: it can sit there and do nothing, it can go into a power saving mode, or it can run folding at near 100% CPU usage. I personally prefer it to save power and stop stressing components. That is why I don’t run folding. Pretty much every major OS except Windows has some sort of CPU level power saving that it does during idle time.

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All well and good, but what does any of that have to do with Folding?

 

It has nothing to do with Folding@Home, but it has everything to do with distributed computing in general. With reversible computers the cost of computation does not increase with the number of computations being performed. At that point idle cycles will effectively be wasted, and using them will become increasingly important.

 

An idle computer will consume no more power than one under heavy load.

 

There's another distributed computing project I should mention. I'll start another thread.

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