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FR Folding@Home Project Update -- We're in the Top 65 of all teams with 12.75 Million points
Stanford University ^ | 09-29-2006 | soccer_maniac

Posted on 09/28/2006 11:45:29 PM PDT by soccer_maniac

Time for a new FreeRepublic folding@home thread.

Our FreeRepublic team of 358 members comprised primarily of Free Republic members in good standing have banded together to donate their excess CPU cycles to a worthy cause. Via distributed computing, millions of computers around the world, contribute directly to scientific research, in the quest for a greater understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Cancer, and Mad Cow (BSE).

Currently, the team is in 75th place (with 1,020 active CPUs - 70,500 completed Work Units and 12.75 million points).

This is an entirely voluntary program, and if you want to learn more, please see the links posted below (or read one of the previous 20+ folding threads)


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: boinc; competition; computers; computing; cpu; cpus; dc; distributed; du; dummies; fah; folders; folding; foldingathome; foldinghome; foldingteam; folds; fteam; kos; laundry; mutants; mutations; proteam; proteins; protien; reagan; ronald; seti; setihome; stanford; supercomputers
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Folding@Home FAQ for new users:

What is Folding@Home?
A Stanford University project to find out how proteins fold.

Why it's important: Proteins folding wrong causes all kinds of diseases, like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and forms of cancer. Folding@Home uses novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing, to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. Through Folding@home, scientists now have the horsepower to study the mechanics of protein folding. With its ability to share the workload among hundred of thousands of computers economically, Folding@home can help scientists understand how proteins snap, or don't, into their predestined shapes - and may help to explain the origins of diseases such as Alzheimer's and apparently unrelated diseases. We're fueling research that could end all that.


How does it work?: You download a safe, tested program (see link below) that is certified by Stanford University. It gets work from Stanford, runs calculations using your spare computer power, and sends the results back to the University.

Is it safe? Yes! Folding@Home rarely effects computer performance in any way and won't compromise your privacy in any way. It only uses the computing power you aren't using so it doesn't slow down other programs.


How do I get started folding for Team FreeRepublic?:
1.) Download the folding program from Stanford University's folding download page (Folding@home Client Download). Type in your desired username.
2.) Type in 36120 for the team number. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT - if you get the number wrong, you won't be folding for team FreeRepublic!
3.) The third question asks, "Launch automatically at machine startup, installing this as a service?" - We recommend you answer YES. Otherwise you will have to manually start the program after every reboot.


How can my computer help? Even if he were given exclusive access to all of the world's supercomputers, Standford still wouldn't have as much processing power as they get from the supercluster of people's desktop systems Folding@home relies on. Modern supercomputers are essentially a cluster of hundreds of processors linked by fast networking. But Stanford needed the power of hundreds of thousands of processors, not just hundreds.


There's no reason to not get involved! It's free, easy, and you can know you're helping every minute without lifting a finger.

*******************************************

List of Relevant Folding Links
Why Fold - Watch This !!


Another Folding Clip


Folding@home Client Download


FreeRepublic.com Folder Stats


Extreme Overclockers Stats for FreeRepublic


Another Stats Page


*******************************************
Competition (Not!!) Dummies ..Daily Kos


Dummie Folding Threads #7 #8 #9#10#11 #12


**************************************************
Other Useful Stuff - Links


How much are those work units worth? And what are they?
All Projects Listed
Point Summary for Workunits


Stat Image Generator


Fahmon Third Party Monitoring Software

**************************************
Past FreeRepublic Folding threads


#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #17 #18 #19 #20#21

1 posted on 09/28/2006 11:45:32 PM PDT by soccer_maniac
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To: 1066AD; 11Bush; A.Hun; abner; AbsoluteGrace; Advil; aft_lizard; ahayes; Alexander Rubin; ...
FR Folding Ping !

Free Republic Folders - A Tribute to Ronald Reagan

Date of last work unit 2006-09-28 23:15:20
Active CPUs within 50 days 1020
Team Id 36120
Grand Score 12788349 (certificate)
Work Unit Count 70485 (certificate)
Team Ranking (incl. aggregate) 67 of 45639
Home Page http://www.freerepublic.com

2 posted on 09/28/2006 11:47:59 PM PDT by soccer_maniac (My new blog: http://capitalistpundit.blogspot.com/)
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To: soccer_maniac

Our competitors' teams:

DUmmies: http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=teampage&teamnum=48157

DailyKos: http://vspx27.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=teampage&teamnum=48083

Other conservative teams:

RedState: http://vspx27.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=teampage&teamnum=48064


3 posted on 09/28/2006 11:51:19 PM PDT by soccer_maniac (My new blog: http://capitalistpundit.blogspot.com/)
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To: soccer_maniac

Just downloaded and installed. You would think I would have something else to do at 3 a.m.


4 posted on 09/28/2006 11:58:18 PM PDT by ozoneliar ("The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" -T.J.)
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To: soccer_maniac

ummm.. might want to worry about the possibility that it could be a password thief or a creditcard/bank info thief. no idea who wrote it, except for some students.


5 posted on 09/29/2006 12:09:34 AM PDT by sten
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To: sten

This is a legit program sanctioned by Stanford U and backed by the largest tech companies in the world: Google, Intel, IBM, Apple, HP, etc.


6 posted on 09/29/2006 12:14:19 AM PDT by soccer_maniac (My new blog: http://capitalistpundit.blogspot.com/)
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To: ozoneliar

Welcome to the team!

Every CPU helps!


7 posted on 09/29/2006 12:14:41 AM PDT by soccer_maniac (My new blog: http://capitalistpundit.blogspot.com/)
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To: soccer_maniac

Well I got a question. It seems that at the rate my CPU is going it will take 400 days to finish this WU. That seems way too long. Is something wrong here?


8 posted on 09/29/2006 12:19:56 AM PDT by ozoneliar ("The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" -T.J.)
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To: ozoneliar

Just wait a bit and it will adjust the estimated time downwards when it has a larger sample size to work with.


9 posted on 09/29/2006 12:38:57 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter
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To: soccer_maniac

We are closing in on the 1 year anniversary of FReeper folding.

So are we going to have a party or what???


10 posted on 09/29/2006 12:40:57 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter
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To: soccer_maniac
I went ahead and hooked up with the project..

A Question:
I want to attach this project to my BOINC manager..
It (BOINC) asks for a URL..
Would that be "http://folding.stanford.edu" or do I need to add the team # on there or something??

11 posted on 09/29/2006 12:41:31 AM PDT by Drammach (Freedom... Not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: soccer_maniac

Hafta thank you for your advice from a couple months ago: I'm less than 250th (finally) on Team Reagan, and, with taking down the processor usage to 75%, this little pig I'm typing on is running on 24/7 and is at about body temperature.

F@H doesn't even get offended if something hangs and I have to reboot - just takes up where I left off, most of the time.

Just wish I had more time to see what my protein folding actually is accomplishing...


12 posted on 09/29/2006 12:48:36 AM PDT by IslandJeff (FR me to be added to the Type I Diabetes ping list)
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To: sten
password thief or a creditcard/bank info thief.

These are accredited and safe..

I have run Berkeley's SETI and BOINC for years now, and never had any security problems.. ( We run anti-virus and Adware and security programs on a daily basis.. To the point we have been called "obsessive".. )

These programs are constantly monitored for hacks and hackers.. Their reputation is everything to them, and could cost them large chunks of their funding if anything went "wrong"..
These distributed computing projects are literally worth their weight in gold to researchers..
Volunteered computing time is priceless..
Heads would roll.. Seriously..

13 posted on 09/29/2006 12:49:42 AM PDT by Drammach (Freedom... Not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: Drammach
A Question: I want to attach this project to my BOINC manager.. It (BOINC) asks for a URL.. Would that be "http://folding.stanford.edu" or do I need to add the team # on there or something??

I just tried to feed that URL into the join mechanism on my own BOINC, and was told that BOINC did not support the "folding" project. And so, with that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to remind my fellow FReepers about the contributions that some of your brothers are making in other computational arenas (as shown in the links below):

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/team_display.php?teamid=30594 http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/team_display.php?teamid=1619 http://predictor.scripps.edu/team_display.php?teamid=1450

Freepers rule.

14 posted on 09/29/2006 1:01:48 AM PDT by NurdlyPeon (Wearing My 'Jammies Proudly)
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To: NurdlyPeon
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/team_display.php?teamid=30594

http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/team_display.php?teamid=1619

http://predictor.scripps.edu/team_display.php?teamid=1450

Of course, sometimes, we don't always get our text right.

15 posted on 09/29/2006 1:03:38 AM PDT by NurdlyPeon (Wearing My 'Jammies Proudly)
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To: sten

Try reading about it before you try to scare off volunteers.
Knee jerk reactions like yours make it harder for those of us that want to do something good1


16 posted on 09/29/2006 2:17:52 AM PDT by Uriah_lost (M.I.E. Mainer In Exile I'll come back when the Massholes go home.)
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To: soccer_maniac

BTTT


17 posted on 09/29/2006 3:04:35 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: soccer_maniac

The #1 Team: [H]ardOCP


18 posted on 09/29/2006 3:23:11 AM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: soccer_maniac

BUMP "For The Gipper"! Thanks for your efforts soccer_maniac.


19 posted on 09/29/2006 5:06:16 AM PDT by houeto (Isn't 1400 years of the same shi'ite enough?)
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To: soccer_maniac

Proud to b "folding".


20 posted on 09/29/2006 5:42:09 AM PDT by Drango (Born free, now expensive.)
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To: soccer_maniac

Thanks for the ping...I hope to have a total of five processors going shortly.

This is a lot of fun, with very little effort, and for a good cause!


21 posted on 09/29/2006 5:44:51 AM PDT by A.Hun (Common sense is no longer common.)
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To: Uriah_lost
Try reading about it before you try to scare off volunteers.

did check the site. still wouldn't trust it. I had used the Seti @ home project, since I knew people that worked on it.

22 posted on 09/29/2006 6:07:08 AM PDT by sten
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To: soccer_maniac

I'm rapidly approaching Top 50 for FR. :-) If I knew for sure how to get >8 CPUs registered, I could probably add more.


23 posted on 09/29/2006 6:42:23 AM PDT by TChris (The United Nations is suffering from delusions of relevance.)
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To: soccer_maniac

bumpity...I think I've reached the point I'm going to stay in the rankings.


24 posted on 09/29/2006 7:50:34 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: sten

Folding@Home grew out of Genome@Home, a contemporary of SETI. SETI allowed G@H to use their ideas and some code in the process of building it.

Same group of folks that get together at conferences, only F@H looks for Little Genetic Markers and SETI looks for Little Green Men.

Are you still using SETI?


25 posted on 09/29/2006 8:10:22 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120))
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To: TChris

The current limit is 8 CPUs per system, not per user.

What are you running that has that many SMPs?


26 posted on 09/29/2006 8:11:15 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120))
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To: soccer_maniac
We recommend you answer YES. Otherwise you will have to manually start the program after every reboot.

But Windows doesn't need to be rebooted very often. </sarcasm>

My second WU was recently completed. Thanks for bringing this worthwile cause to my attention!

27 posted on 09/29/2006 8:15:28 AM PDT by wysiwyg (What parts of "right of the people" and "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?)
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To: texas booster
The current limit is 8 CPUs per system, not per user.

Oh, I got the impression that I have to specify a CPU number for each CPU, regardless of which machine it's on. I guess I misunderstood.

28 posted on 09/29/2006 8:23:11 AM PDT by TChris (The United Nations is suffering from delusions of relevance.)
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To: soccer_maniac
Thanks for the new thread.

I finally hit 100,000 points a few days ago... Now to get to 200,000.

29 posted on 09/29/2006 9:44:25 AM PDT by ken in texas (come fold with us.... team #36120)
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To: All
My shameless self-promotion for this thread:

If you're interested in tracking your folding machine(s) over the web, please Freepmail me.

Available features include:


30 posted on 09/29/2006 9:46:25 AM PDT by Egon (We are number one! All others are number two... or lower.)
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To: soccer_maniac

Bump for later read.


31 posted on 09/29/2006 10:43:38 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: soccer_maniac

Hey, thanks for the new thread and the ping.

I've borged my office 2.8G P4 and my 24hr Average Points is now holding fairly steadily in the low 40's, though I've been as far upscale as the 37th slot.

From my personal experince, for machines in an environment that produces lots of dust -- especially in a home with pets where there's pet hair around -- open up your CPU on at least an annual basis and vacuum the lint and hair out of your heat-sinks. I shut down for an evening to do this on my 2.26G P4; going so far as to remove the heatsinks completely, clean them and reinstall them with fresh thermal transfer grease. You would not believe the difference in performance due to the vast improvement in heat dissipation.

With computers, more so than with nice cars, a clean machine really IS a fast machine.


32 posted on 09/29/2006 11:27:08 AM PDT by HKMk23 (PRO-LIFE: Because a Person's a Person, no matter how small.)
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To: GoLightly

Self ping


33 posted on 09/29/2006 12:44:11 PM PDT by GoLightly
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To: texas booster
Are you still using SETI?

Nope. stopped a few years ago.

34 posted on 09/29/2006 4:04:17 PM PDT by sten
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To: soccer_maniac

What are CPU ?


35 posted on 09/29/2006 4:28:42 PM PDT by exdem2000
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To: sten

Please don't discourage people from helping the team with your histrionics. If you don't want to participate, that's fine, obviously. However, there's no reason to scare others off for no reason.


36 posted on 09/29/2006 10:15:04 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: soccer_maniac
*** BREAKING NEWS TO FELLOW FREEPER FOLDERS ***

http://www.amdzone.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=6491&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

ATI pioneers new Stream Computing technology Uses processing technology to go beyond graphics, working with leading academic institutions and software developers to build a stream computing ecosystem

MARKHAM, ONTARIO, Sep 29, 2006 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX News Network) -- Today ATI (TSX:ATY)(NASDAQ:ATYT) announced that it is pioneering a new technology known as Stream Computing, that has the potential to dramatically impact almost every sector of the market. Along with leading companies and academic institutions worldwide, ATI is working to build a stream computing ecosystem, one that delivers the performance, applications, software and tools necessary to turn ATI's vision into reality.

Stream computing allows ATI graphics processors (GPUs) to work in concert with today's high-performance, low-latency computer processors (CPUs) to solve complex computational problems. Using stream computing, in simulations today processing of risk assessment models similar to those used by financial institutions' were completed 16 times faster than traditional methods(1), oil and gas companies are seeing seismic model processing increased by more than 20 times(1), and Stanford University is seeing disease research accelerated by as much as 40 times, giving them the ability to process three years worth of research data in just one month(2).

Stream computing makes use of ATI's sophisticated graphics processors (GPUs) that have until now, been used solely to calculate and render millions of pixels onto computer monitors, hundreds of times each second. Stream computing harnesses that tremendous processing power for a wide range of scientific, business and consumer computing applications, providing organizations the ability to process incredible amounts of information in significantly less time.

"ATI processors are some of the most technologically advanced computing architectures on the planet," said Dave Orton, president and CEO, ATI Technologies Inc. "They were designed with more than just graphics in mind, and today we're seeing the initial fruits of those labors with the introduction of our stream computing initiatives. Fortune 1000 companies, leading software developers, and academic institutions are demonstrating today that stream computing is they key to tremendous performance in a number of applications. Today's announcement is part of our vision of becoming a processing powerhouse in the months and years to come - we're beginning to build the stream computing platform today."

"Stream computing is a great representation of the vision of AMD's Torrenza platform strategy - bringing the unique capabilities of two heterogeneous processing solutions together to solve complex problem sets and change the game," said Marty Seyer, senior vice president, Commercial Segment, AMD. "Combining AMD64 with stream computing from ATI to address specific application workloads will open up new innovation possibilities in markets such as high-performance computing environments. Torrenza-based technologies have the potential to enable information to flow seamlessly between them in order to solve problems in the most cost-effective and timely manner. We see the potential over time for these two processing elements to become even more tightly coupled."

"The raw computational power of these DirectX-based processors is incredible and harnessing those capabilities for general purpose applications makes a lot of sense," said Dean Lester, general manager of the Graphics Platforms Unit, Microsoft Corp. "Stream computing has the potential to positively impact how organizations analyze data by improving the accuracy and efficiency with which critical business decisions are made, as well as enhancing the overall consumer experience by enabling compelling, high-fidelity environments to gamers today. Microsoft is working closely with ATI towards a future where all of our customers can experience the benefits that stream computing has to offer."

"The combined power of ATI processors and Havok FX enables physical realism only dreamed of by today's game designers," said Jeff Yates, vice president, product management, Havok. "Realistic physics is the future of videogames and together we're making it possible. Just as real-time lighting and shadows are standard in today's games, there will come a time when no game is without this level of immersive, true-to-life physics."

ATI's high-end processor today makes use of 48 compute cores that results in an order of magnitude processing speed-up. In certain applications(3), ATI processors perform up to 40 times faster than competing processors. The accelerated processing associated with stream computing has implications for a number of fields now and in the future, as the ecosystem around stream computing matures:

Scientific research - Today ATI's stream computing efforts are helping to save lives by driving life sciences to produce results faster in areas such as disease research, giving organizations the option to do more granular studies in the same amount of time as in the past(4). ATI announced today that Stanford University will make available a new distributed computing application that takes advantage of ATI processors for disease research. In the future, climate research may also benefit from stream computing as analysis of large data sets for storm and hurricane forecasting can be done faster or in more detail, potentially resulting in the issuing of warnings longer in advance of severe weather, and ultimately a better understanding of the world's climate.

Homeland security - Communications analysis and facial recognition can be drastically improved using stream computing, with implications for airport security, as well as photograph and video analysis.

Financial forecasting - Major institutions have been using server farms to do risk assessment using Monte Carlo simulations, and for derivatives pricing using models like Black-Scholes. Simulations conducted by PeakStream, Inc. using ATI hardware shows that stream computing can provide these companies with more detailed answers in significantly less time, letting them make the business decisions they need to faster, and giving them a leg up on their competition.

Oil and gas - Companies are using stream computing to analyze more data in shorter periods of time to more quickly and reliably discover where resources lie, speeding discoveries of crude oil deposits. ATI graphic processors in concert with PeakStream's software platform are allowing oil and gas companies to achieve significantly faster seismic data modeling.

Database searching - For search companies with incredibly large databases to organize and sort through, stream computing may offer a compelling business case providing increased processing power in less space.

Consumer applications - Software used by millions of people around the world, such as operating systems, office applications, and graphics applications, can benefit from stream computing. Any graphics-laden software that requires heavy processing can be accelerated.

Videogames - An area where ATI processors are already heavily used for graphics purposes, working with Havok, premier provider of software and services to interactive digital media creators, stream computing is resulting in life-like modeling of hair, cloth, smoke, liquid, and the physics behind them, giving gamers the most immersive experience possible.

Other areas that stream computing has the potential to impact in the future include enterprise software, product design and manufacturing, and digital media encoding among others.

With this new opportunity, ATI is also announcing a specific focus on enterprise stream computing in an effort to drive commercial adoption of stream computing with the help of its partners. For more information on ATI's stream computing initiatives, please see related company announcements made today on the topics of enterprise stream computing, and Stanford University's Folding@home program. About ATI Technologies ATI Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative 3D graphics, PC platform technologies and digital media silicon solutions. An industry pioneer since 1985, ATI is the world's foremost graphics processor unit (GPU) provider and is dedicated to deliver leading-edge performance solutions for the full range of PC and Mac desktop and notebook platforms, workstation, set-top and digital television, game console and handheld device markets. With fiscal 2005 revenues of US $2.22 billion, ATI has more than 4,000 employees in the Americas, Europe and Asia. ATI common shares trade on NASDAQ (ATYT) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (ATY).

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WOW A 40X increase in processing time!!

37 posted on 09/29/2006 10:51:19 PM PDT by prophetic
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To: soccer_maniac; Fortyfied
Top 20 Producers
Rank
Team
User
Name
Points
24hr Avg
Points
Total
Klutz_dohanger 11,129 3,319,663
lrenh 6,111 1,022,205
andyk 4,215 405,907
Malsua 3,576 851,878
Chris_Primavera 1,829 246,962
josephw 1,107 68,815
davemaher 873 237,071
Texas_Booster 694 268,584
Egon 694 145,015
Linda_Geiger 681 93,925
Son_Of_The_Godfather 650 33,421
TChris 638 39,143
dfwddr 573 138,753
shurato 558 28,635
mouser 490 111,417
FreeAtlanta 456 97,755
MrBlueSky2005 455 50,843
JCEccles 449 68,399
Bobibutu 430 79,085
walkerk 397 118,690

Congrats to lrenh for hitting the Big 1.0 ... One Million points!

38 posted on 09/30/2006 7:14:56 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120))
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To: texas booster

I may add another box this year. (I cancelled the AMD AM2 plans.) I am considering the Intel Core 2 Quad (4-Core) coming out in November. My old node7 is gone (ownership changed) and I wish to build a replacement. node7 is the only Windows box (other than a dual boot laptop) it is used for Video and 3D applications, all of my other boxes are Linux/BSD/UNIX.

I already bought some parts including some software. I love the student prices at universities: WinXP Pro $5, MS Office 2003 Pro Enterprise Edition $0 (Really, 1 free copy per year).


39 posted on 09/30/2006 9:00:28 AM PDT by ezsmoke (http://www.freebsd.org/)
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To: prophetic

GPUs to increase Folding@Home processing power up to 500x

Wolfgang Gruener and Mark Raby

September 29, 2006 13:03



Palo Alto (CA) - Stanford University's Folding@Home project today announced a new software that will enable the use of graphics cards within the distributed computing project. Project leaders will tap into the floating point horsepower of graphics chips and hope to see a massive jump in processing power that can lead to more research results in less time.

Whenever there is a need of enormous processing power scientist typically make use of, if available, supercomputers. And if supercomputers aren't enough, clusters have been expanded in the past, for example for the SETI@Home ("search for extraterrestrial life") program of the University of California, Berkeley, or the Folding@Home project of Stanford University, to distributed computing projects.


Folding@Home, launched in 2000 by Stanford Associate Professor Vijay Pande, researches the "folding" process of proteins - a term that refers to the assembling and reassembling of proteins. This biological process not always happens in a perfect way and if "proteins get screwed up," said Pande, biomedical problems and diseases can develop - such as Alzheimer's disease, one of Pande's research interests.

Computer simulation of these folding processes can help researchers to learn more about the processes and find cures for or even prevent certain diseases. The problem is that these simulations consume huge amounts of processing power. "This scenario has become a 25-year nightmare," Pande said. Researchers are far away from being able to calculate folding processes in real time: In fact, 1 ns of folding currently takes about 1 day to calculate - or 1 second will take more than 2700 years on "one fast processor," he said.

"Even if the government would give us everything they have in computing power, it wouldn't be enough," he explained. Some simulations could still take up to 40 years to yield some results. Folding@Home was an idea to reach many more machines that would run calculations and, according to Pande, it has been a great success - with more than 200,000 active computers worldwide crunching numbers at this time.

Dual-core processors promised to bring another increase in horsepower, but Pande said that "twice" the performance doesn't cut it: "We need 30 or 40 times the speed to turn months into days," he said.

The project members looked into options to increase the processing speed and ended up at solutions such as Clearspeed's accelerator card, which provides about 100 GFlops or about four times the performance of a current Core 2 Duo chip. But the cards are priced at $5000 even in volume and aren't quite what one would call affordable. Pande now believes to have found a solution by tapping into the capabilities of modern graphics cards, which are monsters in terms of floating point performance: A new client released today supports ATI's X1900 and X1950 graphics cards, which can unleash about 375 GFlops, which is about 20 to 40 times more speed than what the project has seen so far. The group has also improved the software algorithm of Folding@Home, which he expects will bring another 10 - 15x improvement for a total maximum performance increase of about 500x - when ATI's graphics cards are used. However, Pande conceded that the graphics may only be able to deliver a sustained 100 GFlops of speed.

Folding@Home Project

At this time, the beta client is limited to the X1900 series of graphics cards; the researcher said that X1800 cards will be supported soon. The group will also be leveraging the Playstation 3 with its powerful Cell processor. A client for the PS3 was shown already in August, but, according to Pande, that applications for the Cell aren't easy to program.

So, what about Nvidia cards? According to Pande, the group has not been able to get the software to work on Nvidia chips.

Andy Keane, general manager of visualization applications at Nvidia, said in response to the ATI/Stanford announcement that general processing graphics processing units (GPGPUs) so far have been "fundamentally flawed" in a sense that there has not been a lot of "commercial exploitation with GPUs as a processor."

He mentioned that Nvidia wants to change this situation and considers the GPGPU market as "exciting" and something that "the company has been looking at for years." He stated that he had no personal knowledge of the development of a Folding@Home client for the Nvidia platform, but stressed that the company has a "long-standing relationship with Stanford."

At least as far as we know, Nvidia cards were in fact used for general processing projects before ATI came into the picture. One of the early projects was the now defunct BionicFX, which used Geforce 6800 processors to accelerate audio processing. ATI publicly mentioned the possibility of using graphics processors for other applications than graphics shortly before the launch of the X1800 graphics cards series. Such an approach, which ATI called "load balancing" could one day run, for example, physics effects on consumer and enthusiast PCs. Nvidia outlined a similar approach earlier this year for future SLI systems.

However, the fact that graphics chips particularly excel in floating point performance, currently limits the general purpose use of the chips largely to scientific applications. More and more companies are entering this lucrative field and try to answer the need for more processing power. For example, startup Peakstream last week announced an application interface layer that enables developers to add graphics cards to computer systems as a way to create "cheap" supercomputers.

http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/09/29/folding_at_home_to_use_gpus/


40 posted on 09/30/2006 11:33:42 AM PDT by Drango (Born free, now expensive.)
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To: Drango

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2849

The GPU Advances: ATI's Stream Processing & Folding@Home
Date: Sep 30, 2006
Type: Video Card
Manufacturer: ATI
Author: Ryan Smith

Page 1 In the continual progression of GPU technology, we've seen GPUs become increasingly useful at generalized tasks as they have added flexibility for game designers to implement more customized and more expansive graphical effects. What started out as a simple fixed-function rendering process, where texture and vertex data were fed into a GPU and pixels were pushed out, has evolved into a system where a great deal of processing takes place inside the GPU. The modern GPU can be used to store and manipulate data in ways that goes far beyond just quickly figuring out what happens when multiple textures are mixed together.

What GPUs have evolved into today are devices that are increasingly similar to CPUs in their ability to do more things, while still specializing in only a subset of abilities. Starting with Shader Model 2.0 on cards like the Radeon 9700 and continuing with Shader Model 3.0 and today's latest cards, GPUs have become floating-point powerhouses that are able to do most floating-point calculations many times faster than a CPU, a necessity as 3D rendering is a very FP-intensive process. At the same time, we have seen GPUs add programming constructs like looping, branching, and other abilities previously only used on CPUs, but which are crucial to enable effective programmer use of the GPU resources . In short, today's GPUs have in many ways become extremely powerful floating-point processors that have been used for 3D rendering but little else.

Both ATI and NVIDIA have been looking to put the expanded capabilities of their GPUs to good use, with varying success. So far, the only types of programs that have effectively tapped this power other than applications and games requiring 3D rendering have also been video related, such as video decoders, encoders, and video effect processors. In short, the GPU has been underutilized, as there are many tasks that are floating-point hungry while not visual in nature, and these programs have not used the GPU to any large degree so far.

Meanwhile the academic world has been working on designing and utilizing custom-built floating-point hardware for years for their own research purposes. The class of hardware related to today's topic, stream processors, are extremely powerful floating-point processors able to process whole blocks of data at once, where CPUs carry out only a handful of numerical operations at a time. We've seen CPUs implement some stream processing with instruction sets like SSE and 3DNow!+, but these efforts still pale in comparison to what custom hardware has been able to do. This same progress was happening on GPUs, only in a different direction, and until recently GPUs remained untapped as anything other than a graphics tool.

Today's GPUs have evolved into their own class of stream processors, sharing much in common with the customized hardware of researchers, as a result of the 3D rendering process also being a streaming task. The key difference here however is that while GPU designers have cut a couple of corners where they don't need certain functionality for 3D rendering as compared to what a custom processor can do, by and large they have developed extremely fast stream processors that are just as fast as custom hardware but due to economies of scale are many, many times cheaper than a custom design.

It's here where ATI is looking for new ideas on what to run on their GPUs as part of their new stream computing initiative. The academic world is full of such ideas, chomping at the bit to run their experiments on more than a handful of customized hardware designs. One such application, and part of the star of today's announcement, is Folding@Home, a Stanford research project designed to simulate protein folding in order to unlock the secrets of diseases caused by flawed protein folding.


For several years now, Dr. Vijay Pande of Stanford has been leading the Folding@Home project in order to research protein folding. Without diving unnecessarily into the biology of his research, as proteins are produced from their basic building blocks - amino acids - they must go through a folding process to achieve the right shape to perform their intended function. However, for numerous reasons protein folding can go wrong, and when it does it can cause various diseases as malformed proteins wreck havoc in the body.


Although Folding@Home's research involves multiple diseases, the primary disease they are focusing on at this point is Alzheimer's Disease, a brain-wasting condition affecting primarily older people where they slowly lose the ability to remember things and think clearly, eventually leading to death. As Alzheimer's is caused by malformed proteins impairing normal brain functions, understanding how exactly Alzheimer's occurs - and more importantly how to prevent and cure it - requires a better understanding on how proteins fold, why they fold incorrectly, and why malformed proteins cause even more proteins to fold incorrectly.

The biggest hurdle in this line of research is that it's very computing intensive: a single calculation can take 1 million days (that's over 2700 years) on a fast CPU. Coupled with this is the need to run multiple calculations in order to simulate the entire folding process, which can take upwards of several seconds. Even splitting this load among processors in a supercomputer, the process is still too computing intensive to complete in any reasonable amount of time; a processor will simulate 1 nanosecond of folding per day, and even if all grant money given out by the United States government was put towards buying supercomputers, it wouldn't even come close to being enough.

This is where the "@Home" portion of Folding@Home comes in. Needing even more computing power than they could hope to buy, the Folding@Home research team decided to try to spread processing to computers all throughout the world, in a process called distributed computing. Their hopes were that average computer users would be willing to donate spare/unused processor cycles to the Folding@Home project by running the Folding@Home client, which would grab small pieces of data from their central servers and return it upon completion.

The call for help was successful, as computer owners were more than willing to donate computer cycles to help with this research, and hopefully help in coming up with a way to cure diseases like Alzheimer's. Entire teams formed in a race to see who could get more processing done, including our own Team AnandTech, and the combined power of over two-hundred thousand CPUs resulted in the Folding@Home project netting over 200 Teraflops (one trillion Floating-point Operations Per Second) of sustained performance.

While this was a good enough start to do research, it was still ultimately falling short of the kind of power the Folding@Home research group needed to do the kind of long-runs they needed along side short-run research that the Folding@Home community could do. Additionally, as processors have recently hit a cap in terms of total speed in megahertz, AMD and Intel have been moving to multiple-core designs, which introduce scaling problems for the Folding@Home design and is not as effective as increasing clockspeeds.

Since CPUs were not growing at speeds satisfactory for the Folding@Home research group, and they were still well short of their goal in processing power, the focus has since returned to stream processors, and in turn GPUs. As we mentioned previously, the massive floating-point power of a GPU is well geared towards doing research work, and in the case of Folding@Home, they excel in exactly the kind of processing the project requires. To get more computing power, Folding@Home has now turned towards utilizing the power of the GPU.


Modern GPUs such as the R580 core powering ATI's X19xx series have upwards of 48 pixel shading units, designed to do exactly what the Folding@Home team requires. With help from ATI, the Folding@Home team has created a version of their client that can utilize ATI's X19xx GPUs with very impressive results. While we do not have the client in our hands quite yet, as it will not be released until Monday, the Folding@Home team is saying that the GPU-accelerated client is 20 to 40 times faster than their clients just using the CPU. Once we have the client in our hands, we'll put this to the test, but even a fraction of this number would represent a massive speedup.


With this kind of speedup, the Folding@Home research group is looking to finally be able to run simulations involving longer folding periods and more complex proteins that they couldn't run before, allowing them to research new proteins that were previously inaccessible. This implementation also allows them to finally do some research on their own, without requiring the entire world's help, by building a cluster of (relatively) cheap video cards to do research, something they've never been able to do before.


Unfortunately for home users, for the time being, the number of those who can help out by donating their GPU resources is rather limited. The first beta client to be released on Monday only works on ATI GPUs, and even then only works on single X19xx cards. The research group has indicated that they are hoping to expand this to CrossFire-enabled platforms soon, along with less-powerful ATI cards.

The situation for NVIDIA users however isn't as rosy, as while the research group would like to expand this to use the latest GeForce cards, their current attempts at implementing GPU-accelerated processing on those cards has shown that NVIDIA's cards are too slow compared to ATI's to be used. Whether this is due to a subtle architectural difference between the two, or if it's a result of ATI's greater emphasis on pixel shading with this generation of cards as compared to NVIDIA we're not sure, but Folding@Home won't be coming to NVIDIA cards as long as the research group can't solve the performance problem.

Conclusion

The Folding@Home project is the first of what ATI is hoping will be many projects and applications, both academic and commercial, that will be able to tap the power of GPUs. Given the results showcased by the Folding@Home project, the impact on the applications that would work well on a GPU could be huge. In the future we hope to be testing technologies such as GPU-accelerated physics processing for which both ATI and NVIDIA have promised support, and other yet to be announced applications that utilize stream processing techniques.

It's been a longer wait than we were hoping for, but we're finally seeing the power of the GPU unleashed as was promised so long ago, starting with Folding@Home. As GPUs continue to grow in abilities and power, it should come as no surprise that ATI, NVIDIA, and their CPU-producing counterparts are looking at how to better connect GPUs and other such coprocessors to the CPU in order to further enable this kind of processing and boost its performance. As we see AMD's Torrenza technology and Intel's competing Geneseo technology implemented in computer designs, we'll no doubt see more applications make use of the GPU, in what could be one of the biggest-single performance improvements in years. The GPU is not just for graphics any more.

As for our readers interested in trying out the Folding@Home research group's efforts in GPU acceleration and contributing towards understanding and finding a cure for Alzheimer's, the first GPU beta client is scheduled to be released on Monday. For more information on Folding@Home or how to use the client once it does come out, our Team AnandTech members over in our Distributed Computing forum will be more than happy to give a helping hand.





41 posted on 09/30/2006 7:43:51 PM PDT by Drango (Born free, now expensive.)
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To: TChris

You didn't misunderstand, the documentation of that point is very unclear. It's actually a CPU ID per instance on a given computer, though there is generally nothing to be gained by having more instances than processors in a given box.


42 posted on 10/04/2006 2:06:53 AM PDT by Paladin2 (Islam is the religion of violins, NOT peas.)
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To: soccer_maniac

99,944!!!

Looks like I will go over 100k tonight or early in the morning!


43 posted on 10/05/2006 7:18:07 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Search for Folding Project - Join FR Team 36120)
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To: NurdlyPeon

I don't know about boinc, but seti is a waste of time and cpu. Folding can save lives, what will finding an intelligent life a billion light years do for us?


44 posted on 10/05/2006 7:21:24 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Search for Folding Project - Join FR Team 36120)
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To: FreeAtlanta
Folding can save lives, what will finding an intelligent life a billion light years do for us?

It will hasten the invasion.... and finally make the UN a relevant body... not that they'll be any more useful, but at least they'll be relevant.

45 posted on 10/06/2006 4:43:09 AM PDT by Egon (I stand beside you as your partner, in front as your defender, behind as... hey! nice butt!)
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To: soccer_maniac
The DUmmies and Kool-Aid Kos Kidz are putting up abysmal numbers.

As usual, the fork-tongued libs squawk the talk, but only slither the walk.

The problem is that on the whole the FAH project requires a personal commitment of one's own resources (or the ability to persuade others to voluntarily commit their resources). Liberals are famously stingy when it comes to putting their own money and stuff on the line.

They'd do much better if they could create an inefficient, bloated government agency and give it power to compel other people to participate.

Of course, that would destory the whole basis for FAH and put the research back ten years.

46 posted on 10/06/2006 4:54:57 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: soccer_maniac
The DUmmies and Kool-Aid Kos Kidz are putting up abysmal numbers.

As usual, the fork-tongued libs squawk the talk, but only slither the walk.

The problem is that on the whole the FAH project requires a personal commitment of one's own resources (or the ability to persuade others to voluntarily commit their resources). Liberals are famously stingy when it comes to putting their own money and stuff on the line.

They'd do much better if they could create an inefficient, bloated government agency and give it power to compel other people to participate.

Of course, that would destroy the whole basis for FAH and put the research back ten years.

47 posted on 10/06/2006 4:56:12 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: LonePalm
Self Ping for later.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

48 posted on 10/06/2006 4:57:54 AM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: JosephW
You're racking you some impressive numbers, Mr. Hare.

But this tortoise figures you'll have to take another extended trip to Europe sooner or later. ;-)

I still have two dormant machines to get back on line. I'll work on that this week.

49 posted on 10/06/2006 5:01:49 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: JosephW
You're racking up some impressive numbers, Mr. Hare.

But this tortoise figures you'll have to take another extended trip to Europe sooner or later. ;-)

I still have two dormant machines to get back on line. I'll work on that this week.

50 posted on 10/06/2006 5:02:25 AM PDT by JCEccles
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