I may have asked about this in the past. Does anyone here participate in any distributed computing projects? These are projects that run on your home computer and use your idle CPU cycles to solve problems. Generally these are scientific or psuedoscientific in nature.
Up until today, I've been contributing towards ars technica's different DC teams, but since I am annoyed with a recent decision they made, I'm going to be pulling out of their teams and crunching on my own.
If there is any interest in setting up a distributed computing team here, please let me know. I can provide details on a number of projects that are interesting.
One that I am currently participating in is Folding@Home. This project is run by Stanford university and is trying to determine how different proteins fold. This research may lead to discoveries in the areas of Parkinson's, Cancer, etc. There is much more information available at the project's web site. http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html
I've set up a team # for the-w.com. If you want to participate on this team, it is 49159.
I participated in SETI a number of years ago; I've been thinking about getting involved in something of the sort for the past while...but I'm wondering if it would interrupt some of the automated procedures that I have set up on my PC that run (like my daily anti-virus scan, and my daily wake-up alarm).
Interesting idea, however...I think I'll get involved very soon.
That's a good question. The answer is, it should not interfere with those processes if you have it set up correctly.
There are really two big camps in terms of distributed computing right now. The one that is bigger of the two in terms of projects and participants is BOINC. This is UC Berkeley's infrastructure, and it is what SETI recently moved over to. BOINC is really easy to set up and has options to run only when your computer is idle or at all times. For ease of use BOINC is up there, but in my experience it still isn't at that 99.9% stability that you want in a project like this.
BOINC has the advantage of letting you split your time between many different projects. I have been doing Rosetta@Home and Predictor@Home for the past few months. Both of these are protein folding projects. SETI is still out there as well.
The other big project is Folding@Home, which I mentioned earlier. This project runs as either a command line tool (which seems to be the most efficient) or as a screen saver. This is my project of choice right now. I have actually already set up a team for The W on this project (team # 49159 when setting up your clients). Here's the team page for that project: http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=teampage&teamnum=49159
If you want to know anything else about BOINC or Folding@Home (F@H) ask away and I'll let you know.
OH - and so that there isn't any confusion. You should only run this on your own PC or work PCs if you have specific permission to do so. Running a DC project uses more electricity than idling your computer, so this isn't free. Still, it's a nice contribution to science and it's something amusing to keep track of over time.
I'm only on dial-up at home or I'd be interested in helping. If I quit being cheap and move up to broadband, I'll let you know. It's not very likely though. I'm computered out by the time I get home, so I don't even turn it on most days.
"The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents." - Nathaniel Borenstein
Originally posted by bash91I was going to try Folding@Home but 3 system crashes, 2 failed reboots, an uninstall, and a system restore have me convinced that I'll wait for something a bit more stable before I try again.
Really? F@H has given me the least problems of any DC client I've used. If you want some help troubleshooting it I wouldn't mind.
Were you going for the full graphical screen saver or the command line client?
Originally posted by rinbergI'm only on dial-up at home or I'd be interested in helping. If I quit being cheap and move up to broadband, I'll let you know. It's not very likely though. I'm computered out by the time I get home, so I don't even turn it on most days.
You can use broadband or modem, but the modem is a lot more of a pain to do. It's probably better that you wait until you have broadband because you will get sick of it randomly calling on you. Randomly = a couple of times a day at most, but if you are using one phone line for both I can see how this would be a pain.
OK, I'll see if I can figure out what happened for you by installing that tonight at home. The screensaver is pretty neat, actually. I've been running the command line one for a while, but it was mainly just to get the performance boost from the lite version.
Alrighty: I'm in. I've installed the screensaver version, and the first big test will be seeing how it runs as I head to work: let's see what happens after twelve hours. If it doesn't work on my system (for conversations sake, a P3 1Gig system with 512 MB ram and running Windows XP Pro) I'll try the text version that Guru uses.
EDIT: The screensaver version doesn't work as well as I had hoped, so I'm going to download the text variety that Guru has talked about....let's see how that turns out.
(edited by Oliver on 17.2.06 0837) Whatcha gonna do?
That's how it should work. The client should only take your idle CPU time, so you "shouldn't" be able to notice it in your day to day work. There will be times when you may see a slight lag when it lets go of the CPU when you first start doing something, but it is pretty well behaved.
Originally posted by Guru ZimAre you "Kruetzmann" on the team?
Yessir...that would be me. I should have entered under my "W" user name...but I figured there would already be an "OLIVER" on the system.
After testing the folding@home system out, I'm comfortable with how it runs, and will now run it 24/7. The big test was to see if I could run it at 75% and play DVDs and stuff like that. It succeeded, so I'm all set.
EDIT: Wow...we have five people involved now! Awesomeness!
(edited by Oliver on 28.2.06 0819) "At the end of every hard-earned day, people find some reason to believe." -- Bruce Springsteen
Some people may be familiar with RPG Makers- such as Enterbrain's RPG Maker XP, which allow you to easily and with no substantial programming knowledge make your very own Role Playing Game (like the early Final Fantasy parts, for example).