Coronavirus Work Unit coming soon: Donate your unused computer resources to Folding at Home

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
2,113
528
See 2020.03.07 entry for Coronavirus update.

In an old previous post

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...he-1-billion-milestone.1661971/#post-18315982

the Macrumors Folding at Home team had donated over 1 billion points to the Folding at Home medical research effort. This is also a great tool to help evaluate how your system responds with high loads, as it will max out all of your cpus at 99% while it is running.

The FAQ is rather old (IOS 9), but gives some additional information, such as the MacRumors team number (3446).

Here is an updated link to the Stanford website:

https://foldingathome.org

and a screen shot from the Folding at Home web client:

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 17.14.15.png

Although your cpu utilization will be ~99% while it is running, the priority (nice) level is low (19) and you may not notice it with most applications. The Safari nice level, for example, is 0 (lower has higher priority). For heavy CPU bound applications it is simple enough to go to the Web site and temporarily suspend folding.

The only
downside, other than maybe temporarily having to suspend folding, or possibly system slowness on older systems, is that there is the extra electricity cost when fully engaging all of your cpus. When folding my system runs at 441 watts with all 18 cpus (36 virtual) fully engaged. Power consumption drops to ~346 watts with it turned off, so I am using an extra 105 watts of power an hour. That's ~920 KW hours which with the expensive electricity where I live (~$.20 per KW/h) costs about $183.96 a year. For most people with fewer cpus and less expensive electricity the cost would be much less.

It's nice to help make the world a better place during these dark times.
 
Last edited:

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,944
507
You aren't donating your unused computing resources. You are donating electricity.

Electric delivery alone in S. California (San Diego) is almost .30/kWh.

We just went to demand billing, in addition to delivery, the cost of the electricity itself is:

Summer .37/on-peek .12 off-peak .06 super off-peak
Winter .28/on-peek .08 off-peak .045 super off-peak

Total ranges from .345 super off-peak winter to .67 on-peak summer

Just send them money, which they can presumably use to find compute power in efficient and economically-located data centers.
 
Comment

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
2,113
528
After seeing your numbers I reviewed my rates, which are $.21, $.28, and $.43 (tiered usage).

Just send them money, which they can presumably use to find compute power in efficient and economically-located data centers.
The cost to them for using your resources is relatively low, including application development and internet fees. Add to that the cost of your electricity (ignoring wear and tear hardware issues) gives a relatively low total cost.

If you donate $1 and they used that for a datacenter, a whole bunch of other costs have to be paid in addition to electricity. Salaries, equipment costs, real estate costs, and, of course, profit, which would at a minimum reduced the value of that $1 by 30%, likely more. If that datacenter is a low cost energy state it might be a wash cost wise.

It is an easy way to give, as most people won't make the effort to send a check. It makes any dollars that they do receive go that much further.

But, of course, charitable giving is an individual thing. I can see why you don't want to participate.
 
Comment

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,944
507
I can see why you don't want to participate.
Actually, I did - many years ago when it was a new curiosity.

Now, if I can find those 5 free Bitcoin I got back in the day before it crashes to the ground, I can make a generous donation! ;) One of these days I will plug in my ATA "toaster" and go through the old ATA drives, then figure out how to access the SCSI ones. The wallet is on some EXT3 filesystem from a Linux box. I also tried Mining for a couple of days, until I realized not only was I running my computer hot, it would cost a lot in electricity, AND I would need to run the A/C to keep it from over-heating my office (spare bedroom).

I we are going to waste electricity, I would rather we do it with this than Bitcoin, though. Bitcoin was threatening to create an energy crisis there for a while, but I do think we can now stick a fork in it.
 
Comment

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
2,113
528
The folding at home folks are working at adding a coronavirus work unit.

From Apple News+ Popular Mechanics:

"In the case of Covid-19, the infection occurs when a protein on the surface of the virus binds to a receptor protein in a pair of human lungs. This protein is called the spike protein, and the receptor is known as ACE2.

Scientists have already developed a therapeutic antibody that can block the coronavirus protein from binding to a receptor site on a lung cell, but to create antibodies or small molecules for a vaccine, researchers must understand all of the possible shapes the viral spike protein can fold into, as it impacts how it will bind to the ACE2 receptor that causes the viral infection."

From the Folding at Home team:

"A model of the COVID19 was constructed and tested against one or more existing anti-virus in a project that wasn't opened to the public. Not surprisingly, that/those antibodies didn't bind to the spike. The search has begun to find new and different antibodies to be tested against the spike model."

"There are several projects that are currently being set up which will be available for beta testing soon™"

 
Last edited:
Comment

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,866
1,410
Georgia
After seeing your numbers I reviewed my rates, which are $.21, $.28, and $.43 (tiered usage).



The cost to them for using your resources is relatively low, including application development and internet fees. Add to that the cost of your electricity (ignoring wear and tear hardware issues) gives a relatively low total cost.

If you donate $1 and they used that for a datacenter, a whole bunch of other costs have to be paid in addition to electricity. Salaries, equipment costs, real estate costs, and, of course, profit, which would at a minimum reduced the value of that $1 by 30%, likely more. If that datacenter is a low cost energy state it might be a wash cost wise.

It is an easy way to give, as most people won't make the effort to send a check. It makes any dollars that they do receive go that much further.

But, of course, charitable giving is an individual thing. I can see why you don't want to participate.
You also have to factor in equipment you are using and equipment they'd be using. They'd be using modern energy efficient hardware. Possibly ultra efficient ASICs for their tasks. At least specially configuring the computers with off the shelf hardware. All of which is far more energy efficient (performance per watt) than someone donating compute resources of a Nehalem Xeon and Radeon HD 5000 series. Something like a 2019 iMac and Vega GPU will be quite efficient.

With that in mind. When donating computer resources. It's best for people to figure out which provides better performance per watt from their system. Their GPU or CPU. That way they aren't just wasting electricity with little gains.

To put it simpler. Old hardware plus high energy prices. Means it's likely more cost efficient to simply donate the money to them. Modern hardware and low energy prices. Means it's likely more cost efficient to donate computer resources and pay for electricity directly.
 
Comment

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
2,113
528
Means it's likely more cost efficient to donate computer resources and pay for electricity directly.
There is no way to do that as it is an academic research project. Lots of reasons not to do things. This is just a way to make a difference with minimal effort. Hopefully there are others who are interested in contributing.
 
Comment

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,866
1,410
Georgia
There is no way to do that as it is an academic research project. Lots of reasons not to do things. This is just a way to make a difference with minimal effort. Hopefully there are others who are interested in contributing.
Perhaps you didn't catch the meaning of that line. It means to let your computer fold and pay for your own electrical usage.
 
Comment

Similar threads

Replies
5
Views
674
  • JohnEmmett
2
Replies
2
Views
414
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.