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How to earn extra points for your effort


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#1 Live Forever

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:13 PM


There are some ways to earn extra points for your efforts at Folding@Home, beyond the regular amount.

I just saw on the F@H blog, this post about a new project in which a quick turnaround is needed (and therefore points are awarded at x1.5 normal).

Also, running the GPU client (currently in Beta, but has been running for awhile) allows for much faster processing, and therefore more points to be accumulated. (much faster than even a PS3)

Edited by Live Forever, 24 April 2008 - 08:13 PM.


#2 Live Forever

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:16 PM

More info on bonus point work units can be found in this post by dnamechanic:

Bonus-Point Work Units - Up to twice PPD

As alluded to in previous performance summary, all work units are not equal. For the typical uniprocessor computer, one of the best ways to increase productivity (points per day) is to fold bonus point WUs. As mentioned before, Stanford benchmarks regular work units at 110 PPD. But, certain WUs are credited with as much as twice regular points.

Because the bonus-point WUs place a greater demand on the computer and/or the Internet bandwidth, a contributor has to request them before they are sent. Probably the best bonus-point WUs for a typical contributor to request are the WUs known as "BigWUs". BigWUs as you might expect are bigger, usually the download file size is larger (maybe 3-4 MB), or the running memory (RAM) requirements are larger (up to maybe 150 MB RAM). Of course, the resulting file to send back to Stanford is typically large, usually 7-9 MB (although have seen as large as 40 MB).

The good thing is that the contributor gets additional credit for these additional demands, probably around 2x (twice) normal PPD.

So, if you have a broadband connection (essentially non-dial-up) and extra system memory, these 'BigWUs' are good to increase PPD. The extra memory requirement can be quite modest for Windows XP or even Win98 (512 MB total usually works fine, unless you work with memory intensive applications or regularily have many applications open simultaneously). Systems will work most of these BigWUs with only 256 MB RAM, but requires special attention, and no other applications running. So, running these larger work units with 256 MB is *not recommended*. For Windows Vista, RAM requirements in general are increased, most likely any system configured for Vista will have sufficient RAM.

To receive these "BigWUs" - You must set the client configuration to accept them. This is usually clicking 'Yes' to accept Big Work Units or Accept WUs>5MB in your configuration setup.

Having your client configured to receive bonus-point WUs does not guarantee that you will receive them. Often, they are simply not available at the time your client may request a WU. In some clients, particular WUs are assigned according to your computers capability to process them in a timely manner (as determined via CPU ID, RAM size alloted, or even a quick speed test).


For more info on specific performance related issues, see this thread, but I wanted to mention that since it was on earning more points.

#3 dnamechanic

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:29 PM

There are some ways to earn extra points for your efforts at Folding@Home, beyond the regular amount.

I just saw on the F@H blog, this post about a new project in which a quick turnaround is needed (and therefore points are awarded at x1.5 normal).


Thanks Live Forever, this is good news. The article mentions using the "-adv" flag, and then down in the article mentions the "-advmethods" flag. I am not familiar with a "-adv" flag, but the "-advmethods" flag has been around a long time. In the past is has been used for beta or slightly higher-risk work units, often but not always yielding bonus-points.

If anyone wants to start working these new bonus-point work units, the Stanford server must know that you wish your computer to work advanced methods work units. The client must have the advmethods flag set when the client is started.

The graphical client is probably most popular, today I examined it but did not see a menu for setting the flag. It looks like you could do it through a "Short-cut" from your desktop.

Here is how it looks like it could be done:

If you are using the Graphical client, create a shortcut to the executable (.exe) on your Windows desktop.

If you do not have a shortcut, probably the best way make one is to click:

Start > All Programs > then find the Folding@Home entry select it.

Then, copy the folding Icon to your desktop, there are two versions:

F_H_Icon1.jpg F_H_Icon2.jpg

Alternately, to make a shortcut, go to the Folding@Home folder, probably in C:\Program files\Folding@Home

Right click the winFAH.exe and drag to desktop, it will offer a menu, select "Create Shortcuts here"

Once you have the shortcut on your desktop:
Right click the Icon, then in the dropdown menu select 'Properties'. It should look something like this:

Properties1.jpg

Then in the Target window, after winFAH.exe"

Add a blank space followed by -advmethods, like this:

Properties2a.jpg

Make sure there is a blank space between the last double-quote and the -advmethods.

Click the "Apply" button at the lower right of the window.

Click "OK".

If the folding client is running, close the folding application, probably by right clicking the Icon in the system tray and selecting 'Quit'. You might lose a few minutes of folding time, unless you select just the right time to close the client.

After stopping the client, then restart it using the desktop Icon that you just prepared that has the -advmethods in it's properties. The folding client will resume work on the current work unit. The current work unit will finish and submit to Stanford normally. The next work unit you get have an opportunity to be an Advanced Methods work unit. The client will remain in tthis "request advmethods work units mode" until stopped. In the future if the client starts automatically, for example on boot-up, you may have to stop and restart it with the short-cut to ensure that is receives Advmethods work units.

If you wish to confirm that your client is set up for Advanced Methods work units, you may examine the FAHlog.txt, located in the same directory as the winFAH.exe mentioned previously. When the client starts it will list all special conditions applied. Showing in the example below is an excerpt from a FAHlog.txt. Notice after "Launch", then "Argument" shows"-advmethods"

--- Opening Log file [April 24 21:56:27]


# Windows Graphical Edition ###################################################
#####################################################################

Folding@Home Client Version 5.03

http://folding.stanford.edu

######################################################################
######################################################################

Launch directory: C:\Program Files\Folding@Home
Arguments: -advmethods

If you use the Console version, a short-cut setup like above works fine. I believe that the Advmethods flag can also be permanently set in the client.cfg file.

If your computer system has the capabilities, mainly a bit of extra RAM and broadband (non dial-up) Internet access, the -advmethods flag can be combined with the BigWU request mentioned in the previous post, and also here. Combining the two client configurations can increase the probability of getting bonus-point work units. There are times when it may be better to have only one request set, and not both. Receiving bonus-point work units often depends on work unit availability.

Edited by dnamechanic, 25 April 2008 - 05:24 PM.


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#4 dnamechanic

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:11 AM

More good news on the Bonus Points work units for -advmethods:

The bonus will be 'upped' from 50% (x1.5) to 100% (x2.0), according to this:

Stanford_advmethods_2x_Bonus.jpg

Looks like Vincent Voelz (vvoelz) is running this project. Going through the list at the Stanford Projects page it appears that these work units will include the latest round of Bonus Units.
Amber_Bonus.jpg

From past experience, a couple of bits of info regarding Amber work units:

- Amber work units do not use SSE or SSE2 instructions so they really do not work the processor as hard as usual Gromacs work units. The result is a bit less processor heat. Maybe less likely to end with an error (EUE).

- The processing probably depends heavily on floating point unit in the CPU. For several years, AMD has had a good FPU, so AMD CPUs typically do very well processing Amber work units.

Edited by dnamechanic, 14 May 2008 - 01:27 AM.


#5 Live Forever

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:24 AM

Sweet! Thanks for the heads up, dnamechanic. They must really be wanting people to do the advance method if they are offering so many bonus points for it.

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#6 dnamechanic

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:37 AM

... They must really be wanting people to do the advance method if they are offering so many bonus points for it.

Yes, seems likely.

Could be that Dr. Vince Voelz has a hot project. Probably one of the ways to get folders attention, and their help, is to offer bonus points.

Here is a bit of info on Voelz:

Meet FAH team member Dr. Vince Voelz




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