12 July 2007 @ 23:33Folding in the “off hours”

I’ve been participating in the Folding@home project for a while now. It gives me a sense of helping out while also providing a sense of competition. While Folding@home pretty much gets out of your way while you do “real” work, it also causes some computers’ fans to run more than normal. This is nothing to be worried about, but the added noise can be bothersome. So, scheduling when to run Folding@home is ideal in this instance.

Here is my quick setup for OS X computers (Intel, not PowerPC) around here. It’s a simple command that I copy and paste (often over ssh) into the command line.

mkdir ~/Library/Folding@home/; cd ~/Library/Folding@home/; curl -O http://www.stanford.edu/~kasson/folding/FAH_SMP_OSX.tgz; tar xzf FAH_SMP_OSX.tgz; echo '[settings]' > ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'username=MA4Lfolder' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'team=18' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'asknet=no' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'bigpackets=yes' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'machineid=1' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo '' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo '[http]' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'active=no' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'host=localhost' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'port=8080' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo '' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo '[clienttype]' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo 'type=3' >> ~/Library/Folding@home/client.cfg; echo "0 18 * * 1,2,3,4,5 cd ~/Library/Folding@home/; nohup ./fah5 -local -advmethods -forceasm &" > tmpcron; echo "0 7 * * 1,2,3,4,5 killall fah5" >> tmpcron; echo "" >> tmpcron; crontab tmpcron; rm tmpcron; nohup ./fah5 -local -advmethods -forceasm &

The scheduling portion of this command uses cron and starts at the echo “0 18″. At “0 18″ (6pm) Folding@home starts up and runs through the night until “0 7″ (7am) when it is killed. The schedule could be changed to fit your needs. If you find that your work units are not meeting their deadline, “bigpackets=yes” should be changed to “bigpackets=no”.

This command should only be run once — at initial install. All other maintenance will have to be performed manually (ie. editing client.cfg, starting/stopping fah5, editing the crontab). Also, you might consider changing the username and team number in the above command, although team 18 MacAddict4Life would welcome your participation.

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