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Old 06-15-2006, 06:26 PM   #1
What is folding? Ask me.
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Default [email protected] FAQ / Tech support thread

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 does it work? The computer power needed to conduct this research is immense, so work is divided up across hundreds of thousands of computers that volunteers, like you, donate to the cause. A small software program downloads work from Stanford's server, crunches the numbers, and uploads the results. Each piece of work, called a work unit or WU, typically takes between a day and a week to complete, depending on the exact WU and the speed of the computer being used.
  • How can I join's team? Simply go here, download the program, and enter team number 52013 to start folding for our team. Use your name as the folding name. It's that simple!
  • 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. I personally run 6 computers 24/7, and it costs me about $10 a month in electricity. This will vary based on your utility rates.
  • Is it safe? Yes, the program is absolutely safe to run. It will not increase the danger of hackers, viruses, spyware, or any other harmful security risks.
[email protected] software
  • Which version of the program should I download? There are two common versions of the software. One is a non-nonsense console. It is simply a text window that follows the progress of the work. The other is a graphical client that shows a nifty visual representation of the calculations being conducted. Both versions function in exactly the same way and work at the same rate of speed, so the choice is entirely up to you. There are also advanced versions that utilize multiple core CPUs, video cards, and even Playstation 3s. If you have any of those versions, please PM me for more information as to how to get the most out of your system.
  • Which operating systems can I use to fold? Windows (98SE through Vista), Linux, Mac OS X, PS3
  • 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.
  • Will folding slow down my Internet connection? The program only connects to the Internet when it needs to download work or upload results, which typically occurs between once a day and once a week. The rest of the time, it does not communicate with the outside world. Broadband users will not likely notice any slow downs at all. Dial up users will experience slow downs, but only for the length of time it takes to download work and upload results. These transfers are limited to a maximum of 5 MB by default, so the disruption will be minimal.
  • 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 (for the tech geeks among us)
  • 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.
  • How can I keep track of my folding progress? [email protected] statistics can be found on Stanford site's (updated hourly) and Kakaostats (updated every three hours).
  • I'm having problems with folding. How can I get help? Post in this thread, PM me, or check out the [email protected] Forum to see if others have had similar problems.
  • Please do not be afraid to ask questions! If you have a question, it's very likely that some of your fellow team members have the same question.
  • WU? What's a WU? WU is an abbreviation for Work Unit, the small pieces of the larger projects that our computers work on. Each computer works on one WU at a time.
  • What is a "folding farm"? That is a commonly used term for the group of computers a single user devotes to the folding cause.
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Last edited by Taeric; 07-11-2007 at 02:23 PM.. Reason:

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