Folding@home

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Help scientists studying Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and SARS-CoV-2 by simply running a piece of software on your computer. Add your computer to a network of millions of others around the world to form the world's largest distributed supercomputer.

Installation

Install the foldingathomeAUR package. In order to use your GPU for folding (highly recommended), you'll need ocl-icd and the appropriate OpenCL package for your GPU. Nvidia users can also use CUDA.

Configuration

Run FAHClient --configure as root to generate a configuration file at /etc/foldingathome/config.xml (the Arch Linux team number is 45032). Alternately, you can edit /etc/foldingathome/config.xml by hand. With a config file in place, you can start the daemon, check its status, and make the daemon automatically start at boot time.

$ cd /etc/foldingathome
# FAHClient --configure

Then start/enable the foldingathome.service systemd unit. Nvidia users should also enable the foldingathome-nvidia.service systemd unit.

The graphical way

You can manage the daemon by opening a web browser and heading to http://localhost:7396/. Alternately, you can install fahcontrolAUR and use the FAHControl program (or fahcontrol-gtk3-gitAUR for a GTK3 fork).

The daemon can also be controlled remotely. Instructions for doing so are listed in /etc/foldingathome/config.xml. Remember to open firewall ports if necessary.

The terminal way

The behaviour of foldingathome can be customized by editing /etc/foldingathome/config.xml. Some options that can be specified:

  • passkey, to uniquely identify you. Though not needed, it provides some measure of security. For details, see [1]
<passkey v='passkey'/>
  • Slots for CPU or GPU
<slot id='0' type='CPU'/>

Run f@h with limited privileges

The updated version of foldingathomeAUR package (>7.6.9) already runs as a limited user. It also installs a systemd user script that you can use, which users without root access can enable (you'll still need video group access to be able to use the GPU).

Monitoring work-unit progress

There are several ways of monitoring the progress of your FAH clients, both on the command line and by GUI.

Folding@home writes its log file to the data directory. By checking out a few last lines you can check its progress, e.g. tail -10 /var/log/foldingathome/log.txt.

The fahcontrolAUR software distributed by folding at home provides you with efficient means to control both local and remote hosts. Just add another client with the corresponding button "Add" and enter the name, IP address, port and password (if you set one) and hit save. The software should now try to establish a connection to the remote host and show you the progress in a separate client tab.

For checking Nvidia GPU utilisation, nvtop or nvtop-gitAUR can be used. It also reports core temperature and power usage. For AMD GPUs, use radeontop-gitAUR or radeontopAUR (requires root privileges).

Troubleshooting

If your GPU is supported and still not used, edit /opt/fah/config.xml file to attempt to autoconfigure GPUs:

<gpu v='true'/>

See also