How To use Folding@HomeFri, Sep 10, 2004 - 9:00 AM
With the passing of time, diseases are also migrating to attempt to take over the world. In order to fight diseases, scientists have to do a lot of research with proteins and other biological matter to find out how to battle deadly diseases!
Stanford University is dedicated to help in this massive research initiative by creating a program that uses distributed programming in order to use spare CPU cycles to run research calculations and send the results back to Stanford. This initiative is called Folding@Home.
What are proteins and why do they “fold”?
“Proteins are biology’s workhorses — its ‘nanomachines.’ Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or ‘fold.’ The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. Moreover, perhaps not surprisingly, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. ‘misfold’), there can be serious effects, including many well known diseases , such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease.”
So by running Folding@Home on your machine, you are benefiting the whole world by aiding research towards preventing deadly diseases.
To learn more on protein folding, visit http://folding.stanford.edu/.
How to Install Folding@Home on Your Computer:
To begin folding, you must first download and install the Folding@Home Utility from Stanford University. However, the program comes in multiple flavors:
- Graphical Client v5.02 (Windows XP/2000/NT)
- Graphical Client v4.00 (Windows 98/ME)
- Screensaver Client v4.00 (Windows XP/2000/NT)
- Text-Only Console v5.02 (Windows XP/2000/NT/98/ME)
- Linux Console v5.02 (x86)
- Graphical Client v4.00 (Mac OS X PPC)
- Screensaver Client v4.00 (Mac OS X PPC)
- Text-Only Console v4.00 (Mac OS X PPC)
The Graphical Client is a nice application that visually shows you the proteins as they are being folded. Use this version if you are really interested in watching visual displays of the research your computer is conducting.
The Screensaver Client is also visual, but it only runs when your screensaver is activated, thus it is only running when you are not at your computer.
The Text-Only console has no visual display of the proteins. This version is also a bit faster than the visual types because there is less CPU time being used to create the images of the proteins. The Text-Only version also has more power than the graphical versions. One important point is this version is the only version that will allow you to run Folding@Home effectively on multiple CPU systems: this includes all of us out there with Pentium 4 processors with Hyperthreading!
Installing on Single-CPU Systems (NO HYPERTHREADING):
The install for Single CPU systems is increadibly easy. Just download one of the graphical versions and install/run it. If you choose the text-only version, there is no install… just download the program to its own folder and run it!
Installing on Multi-CPU Systems (INCLUDES P4 HYPERTHREADING SYSTEMS):
If you choose to install a graphical version, then this is just like running Folding@Home on a Single-CPU system. Also, there is nothing you can do to effectively run Folding@Home on your system because it is only designed to run on one CPU. Since Hyperthreading appears as 2 CPUs to the OS and programmers, you will only use half of your Pentium 4 CPU’s power and only see it as running at 50% utilization.
If you want to use all of your computer’s power, you must use the Text-Only Console.
First, download the text-only console to its own folder. Second, copy and rename that folder repeatedly to equal the number of CPUs on your system. (For Hyperthreading users, this number equals 2). Now comes the detailed part.
- Goto the Start menu and select “run…”
- type ‘cmd’ and hit Enter to bring up the Console in Windows
- navigate to the folder in which you downloaded the first copy of FAH502-Console.exe
- type “FAH502-Console.exe -config”
- Enter in the appropriate settings. In Advanced Settings, make sure the Machine ID is set to 1.
- Goto next folder and run “FAH502-Console.exe -config” and use the same settings, but make the Machine ID set to 2.
- Repeat above step for each number of processors in your computer
- When you want to run Folding, run “FAH502-Console.exe -local” from each of the folders you created
When you run each of the Text-Only copies in each of the folders, you will then utilize all of your CPU(s) utilization towards the protein folding research!
Joining a Folding@Home Team:
When you are going through the installation steps, you will see a place where you can enter a team number. Teams are created within Folding@Home to encourage a competitiveness feeling to the research. This encourages users to join and help out with the cause. There is no physical reward for this competition, it is just a fun way to know you are helping the cause!
Legit Reviews’ Team number is: 38296
Joining a team is optional, but we hope you decide to Join our Folding@Home Community to help us encourage other users to donate their unused CPU cycles toward the Folding@Home mission.
I hope this HowTo article has helped everyone out there understand the mission of Folding@Home and lets everyone realize they can do something to help researchers find ways to treat deadly diseases in the future. If you have further questions, ask us in our Legit Folding Forum or take a look at Stanford’s FAQ on Folding@Home.