Folding@Home Guide

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Mar 8, 2009
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Introduction to folding@home

Folding@home is a project that uses a massive amount of computer systems just like the ones you and I have. Over ten years ago scientist figured a way to study protein folding with computers. This lead to a question of how quickly the study would be if they sent out packets of information for everyone around the world to process and then return the results. After ten years the project has grown very large, still yet there is millions of people that have never even heard of the project. I was one of those people that never even new of the project until after it was 9 years old.

Most people don't realize they can help scientist study for cures. There are even those who think that by donating their computer to folding@home, they can't use their computers at the same time. This is not true, folding@home has been designed so you can use your computer and never even tell the program is running in the background. If you are a gamer or use your computer for graphic intense applications, you will notice a performance loss. In general the everyday computer user would never even notice a performance difference in their computer while folding@home is running.

I am currently using all my CPU and GPU processing power for folding@home. At the same time I am using my PC everyday for other things while I fold. For those who use their PC's for gaming, they simply pause or stop folding while they are gaming. Once they finish gaming, they start folding again. You can fold for the project whenever you want to. There is however deadlines that you would want to keep but thats nothing to sweat about. I have seen people that only fold for a few days a week while others fold around the clock everyday.

Please consider donating your computers processing power to help scientist find cures for many of the worlds diseases.

Our goal: to understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases.
  • You can help scientists studying these diseases by simply running a piece of software.
    • Folding@home is a distributed computing project -- people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals.
  • Protein folding is linked to disease, such as Alzheimer's, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers.
    • 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.
  • What is protein folding?
    • 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.
  • What have we done so far?
    • We have had several successes. You can read about them on our Science page, on our Awards page, or go directly to our Results page.
Here is a few short videos you may find of interest.
[ame="[MEDIA=youtube]EZ1XuOgknuE[/MEDIA]"]Folding@Home Interview: Fold a Protein[/ame][ame="[MEDIA=youtube]PUPLimoTtiY[/MEDIA]"]Why Study, Simulate, Use Folding@Home, Vijay?[/ame]

In simpler terms:
  • Decide to donate your computer's unused processing power to scientific study.
  • Download a Client (small application) that is right for you.
  • Setup a Team ID, Username, Passkey, and a few other details.
  • Start the Client which will download a project known as a Work Unit.
  • The client will process information, upload final results and then start the process all over again.

Other articles for an intruducion to Folding@home:
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Mar 8, 2009
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Getting started with folding@home

First: Choose a Team. ( team number: 186660)
There are several thousand team's you can join. Each team has been given a Team number. A team number will need to be added to the clients configuration data. If you choose not to add a Team number, you will be folding for the Default team. All users who are folding without team number are contributing to the Default Team.​

Second: Choose a UserName.
Depending on the team you fold for, there can be only a few or over a thousand members. You will need to choose a Username that is not already in use on the team you have chosen. Choosing a Username that is already in use on other Team's will be fine. If you decide not to enter a Username, you will be defaulted to folding under the name Anonymous.​

Third: Get a Passkey.
The passkey, a new feature beginning with the v6.0 FAH client, is a unique identifier that ties your contributions directly to you (not just those with your username). The use of a passkey prevents others from cheating using your name. Obtain a passkey, enter it when you configure the client, and the client and servers will do the rest. You should keep your passkey secret.​

Fourth: Download a Client. (This stage is easy with Tracker V2)
Console client runs in the background and is launched from a terminal window (command line i.e. DOS window), to which they output text messages about the simulation's progress.

Graphical clients (former GUI or current System Tray) run in the background and has a graphics window interface that allows you to see the protein being simulated. The v4.x Screensaver client runs like other screensavers, except that it also runs our calculation in the background. However, a separate Screensaver version is being phased out, and that feature has been rolled in to the graphical clients.

Beta clients. We often release clients early for donors to beta test. These beta versions likely have some rough edges, but we expect that they should work reasonably well for all donors.

High Performance clients. In addition to the clients that run in the background on typical computers, we also offer high performance clients, such as the GPU, SMP, and PS3 clients. These clients use more system resources, but are also much more productive. Please consider the use of these clients carefully.​

Fifth: Setup your clients (This stage is easy with Tracker V2)
The console client will display some information and then prompt you for answers to configuration questions. Note that for most answers, the default setting is the recommended setting.
  • User Name [Anonymous]?
  • Team Number [0]?
  • Passkey []?
  • Core Priority (idle/low) [idle]?
  • CPU usage requested (5-100) [100]?
  • Machine ID (1-16) [1]?
  • etc....
Special notes:
  • Each client on one computer needs it own Machine ID. Any clients on one computer with the same Machine ID will conflict and cause problems between the clients.
  • When folding with SMP2 clients the -SMP flag must be used for the computer to use all CPU cores. If the "-smp" flag is not used the client will only use one core, thus needing a client for each core and a different Machine ID for each.
  • When folding with an 8-thread CPU or greater, folding for Bigadv Work Units is possible which requires the "-bigadv" flag.

Sixth: Start the client.
There really is not anything to say here.

If you find you are experiencing troubles or have any questions, please don't hesitate to start a new thread and ask for help. :)
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Mar 8, 2009
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Choose the right Client's

Non-Windows based clients.
There are clients for Linux, Macintosh, and Playstation 3. However since this is a Windows forum and I have no experience with these clients, I will stick with Windows based clients through this guide.​

Windows based clients.
Three different SMP configurations:
CPU for folding on a single core (folding without the "-smp" flag)
SMP2 for folding on a multicore CPU (folding with the "-smp" flag)
BIGADV for folding on a multicore CPU with 8 threads or more (folding with the "-bigadv" flag)
There is three different GPU clients:
GPU2 for folding on AMD graphics cards (HD 2xxx and up)
GPU2 for folding on nVidia graphics cards (8xxx and up non-Fermi cards)
GPU3 for folding on nVidia graphics cards (Fermi cards)

Image of the Console Client:

Image of the Systray Client:

Download a Standard Client and follow this Installation Guide
Download a High Performance Client and follow this Installation Guide.
or simply​
Download FAH GPU Tracker V2 and follow this Setup Guide. (Front-end loader for all clients)
FAH GPU Tracker V2 is a Folding@Home client tracking and control program that makes folding easier.
  • Controls up to 9 clients (CPU or SMP, up to 8 GPUs)
  • Tracks detailed stats for every client and every name/team combo
  • Tracks WU failures by project number for each client
  • Saves the logs of failed WUs
  • Can automatically reconfigure user information from an XML file
  • Gaming Pause feature to pause clients while gaming
  • Automatically updating projects list (pulled from psummary)
  • Hides all client windows to prevent taskbar clutter
  • Can be minimized to system tray
  • Automatic update support
  • Heat Control setting to throttle GPUs based on the current WU
  • Allows switching between the GPU2 and GPU3 clients (per-GPU)
  • Can export an XML file with the current status of the Tracker
  • Can upload the XML status file to an FTP server
  • Downloads the FAH clients from Stanford on first run
  • PPD monitoring of all clients including bonus points for SMP A3
Image of FAH GPU Tracker V2:
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Mar 8, 2009
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Monitor your clients progress.

I know of a few applications to monitor all your clients progress, even across networks from one location.
Folding@Home Client Monitoring Application written for the Microsoft .NET 3.5 and Mono 2.4 Platforms.

FahMon is an open-source tool (GPL license) that allows you to quickly check the progress of your Folding@Home client (or clients if you have multiple), avoiding you having to open different files and/or to go to the Internet (for example to know how much your current work unit is worth).

Both applications have features that allows uploading to an Internet Server. This allows you to monitor your clients with Internet capable devices, such as Phones or Netbooks while you are on the go.
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Mar 8, 2009
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Monitor your Team and User statistics.

Many people enjoy monitoring their Team and/or User Statistics. I know of two great places you can do just that.

ExtremeOverClocking Sig Images can be added to anyones signature area.

Here is a little something I programmed to easily pick preferred colors. Download and open with Explorer or Firefox.

or if you prefer Folding@home Badge Generator

This one even has a BadgeString, for use with a Windows Sidebar Gadget that looks identical to the signature image​


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Mar 8, 2009
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Estimate or Calculate your Points Per Day (PPD)

  • Estimating CPU/GPU PPD:
    • PPD Database
      [SIZE="3"][B]CPU PPD Range:[/B][/SIZE]
      [FONT="Courier New"][INDENT]AMD Athlon                  100 -   600
      AMD Athlon X2               500 -  2800
      AMD Athlon X3              3100 -  5100
      AMD Athlon X4              4200 -  5100
      AMD Phenom X2              1500 -  2700
      AMD Phenom X3              1900 -  4600
      AMD Phenom X4              2500 -  8200
      AMD Phenom X6             10000 - 15000
      Intel Celeron               100 -   600
      Intel Pentium 4             100 -   500
      Intel Celeron D             100 -   400
      Intel Pentium D             600 -  1400
      Intel Celeron Dual-Core     800 -  2000
      Intel Pentium Dual-Core     800 -  3700
      Intel Core2 Duo            1000 -  3900
      Intel Core2 Quad           4700 -  9000
      Intel Core2 Extreme Dual   1900 -  2500
      Intel Core2 Extreme Quad   5500 - 10500
      Intel Core i3 - Gen1       4100 -  4600
      Intel Core i5 - Gen1       4900 -  7900
      Intel Core i7 - Gen1      12000 - 30000
      [SIZE="3"][B]GPU PPD Average:[/B][/SIZE]
      [FONT="Courier New"][INDENT]8600 GTS	-	   1,234
      8800 GTS	-	   2,551
      8800 ULTRA	-	   4,132
      8800 GT		-	   4,288
      8800 GTX	-	   4,333
      8800GT		-	   4,578
      9500 GT		-	   1,479
      9600 GSO	-	   3,125
      9600 GT		-	   4,193
      9800 GT		-	   4,760
      9800 GTX+	-	   5,193
      9800 GTX	-	   5,621
      9800 GX2	-	   4,998 Per Core
      GTX 260		-	   5,827
      GTS 250		-	   5,953
      GTX 260 CORE 216-	   7,174
      GTX 280		-	   7,699
      GTX 275		-	   7,839
      GTX 285		-	   8,427
      GTX 295		-	   7,211 Per Core
      GT 430		-	   7,177
      GTS 450		-	  11,893
      GTX 460		-	  14,031
      GTX 465		-	  10,988
      GTX 470		-	  14,669
      GTX 480		-	  16,122
      GTX 570		-	  17,369
      GTX 580		-	  19,246
      HD 3650		-	     527
      HD 3850		-	   1,572
      HD 3870		-	   2,024
      HD 4670		-	   1,398
      HD 4850		-	   2,545
      HD 4870		-	   3,338
      HD 4890		-	   3,484

  • Calculating CPU PPD:
    • Folding@home SMP2 Bonus Point Calculator
      [SIZE="3"][B]SMP2 Points Per Day plus the Bonus:[/B][/SIZE]
      [INDENT]Values used to calculate SMP2 points per day
                   Basepoints = 481
           Preferred Deadline = 3
               Final Deadline = 6
                     K Factor = 2.1[/INDENT]
      [FONT="Courier New"]Time Per Frame - Points Per Day
            1.5 min  -  50785 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
           1.75 min  -  40301 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              2 min  -  32986 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
           2.25 min  -  27644 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
            2.5 min  -  23603 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
           2.75 min  -  20459 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              3 min  -  17955 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
            3.5 min  -  14249 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              4 min  -  11662 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              5 min  -   8345 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              6 min  -   6348 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              8 min  -   4123 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             10 min  -   2950 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             15 min  -   1606 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             20 min  -   1043 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             30 min  -    568 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             45 min  -    154 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             60 min  -    115 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             80 min  -     87 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             90 min  -      0 PPD   ( Passed Final Deadline )
      [SIZE="3"][B]SMP2 Points Per Day plus the Bonus:[/B][/SIZE]
      [INDENT]Values used to calculate SMP2 points per day
                   Basepoints = 921
           Preferred Deadline = 3.2
               Final Deadline = 6
                     K Factor = 4.1[/INDENT]
      [FONT="Courier New"]Time Per Frame - Points Per Day
              3 min  -  48038 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
            3.5 min  -  38121 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              4 min  -  31202 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
            4.5 min  -  26149 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              5 min  -  22326 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
            5.5 min  -  19352 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              6 min  -  16984 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              7 min  -  13478 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
              8 min  -  11032 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             10 min  -   7894 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             12 min  -   6005 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             15 min  -   4297 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             20 min  -   2791 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             25 min  -   1997 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             30 min  -   1519 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             40 min  -    987 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             50 min  -    265 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             65 min  -    204 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             80 min  -    166 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             90 min  -      0 PPD   ( Passed Final Deadline )
      [SIZE="3"][B]BIGADV Points Per Day plus the Bonus:[/B][/SIZE]
      [INDENT]Values used to calculate SMP2 points per day
                   Basepoints = 8955
           Preferred Deadline = 4
               Final Deadline = 6
                     K Factor = 26.4[/INDENT]
      [FONT="Courier New"]Time Per Frame - Points Per Day
             12 min  - 148155 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             13 min  - 131393 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             14 min  - 117570 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             16 min  -  96229 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             18 min  -  80645 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             20 min  -  68856 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             22 min  -  59683 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             24 min  -  52381 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             26 min  -  46454 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             28 min  -  41567 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             30 min  -  37480 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             35 min  -  29743 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             40 min  -  24344 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             45 min  -  20402 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             50 min  -  17419 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             55 min  -  15099 PPD   ( Bonus Added )
             60 min  -   2149 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             70 min  -   1842 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             80 min  -   1612 PPD   ( No Bonus )
             90 min  -      0 PPD   ( Passed Final Deadline )

Quick Return Bonus Plan Qualifications:
  1. Run the latest SMP client (v6.29 or above).
  2. Configure that client with a passkey.
  3. Complete 10 a2 and/or a3 work units...
    • within their preferred deadlines
    • using the same passkey and fah user name combination
    • on one or more of your systems.
  4. Successfully return >=80% of assigned [bonus] WU's.
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