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Dedicated folding rigs?

Discussion in 'bit-tech Folding Team' started by wst, 7 Sep 2009.

  1. wst

    wst Minimodder

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    I've seen a lot of people have a dedicated folding rig or more, on this forum. Am I missing something here? You've got wonderfully powerful computers, and you're just running F@H on them 24/7... May I ask... why? I understand it's got a nice ethical side to it, but £150/month electricity bills? How do you justify such amazingly large numbers to the missus?

    (And I don't have a problem with what you guys do with your computers and electricity bills ;) I just don't know what F@H has that makes you go to such lengths...)
     
  2. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

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    Hey, I get to recycle an answer I gave in a similar thread at http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=168278&highlight=asbestos. You'll find some other big folders' answers in that thread, but read it from the beginning as the question was slightly different...

    OK, so here is why I fold -
    1) I am a geeky scientist, who happens to work in the pharmaceutical industry. I find the fundamental science of the protein folding problem fascinating. And the entire approach of using distributed computing to study this brings up, and solves, many practical problems.

    2) My father is suffering from Altzeimer's and it is horrible to see what is happening to both him and my mother. I know this research will take too long to help him, but it should benefit people in the future. And those people may be me and my frinds.

    3) I have seen two colleagues die from brain tumours - and their attempts to keep going and try to live a normal life make me feel humbled. Add another who had major abdominal surgery for bowel cancer, a non-smoker who died from small-cell lung cancer, and a third who died from (can't remember the technical name, but its the cancer associated with asbestos), and it starts to look a bit grim. And a childhood friend with a muscle-wasting disease ...

    I'm not sure what cupboard means by "What I was trying to say, and may have mislead you about, is that I believe that it would be better if the money spent by individuals on the "distributed supercomputer" were instead spent on an local supercomputer more capable of running these simulations that consumer hardware." At work we tried to build what might be called a 'local supercomputer' and failed - the techniques, hardware, and software either did not exist, or were not robust. Believe me, using multiple nodes, very few of which are critical is the way forward. And the beauty of the distributed computing environment, is that you have a large number of people each trying to keep their little bit of the machine in tip-top condition. And you don't have to pay for those people, or their machines, or their electricity, which means less time writing grant proposals, and more time on the science.

    As for the points, and challenges, well I think most of us could name a hobby which has a competitive element. Motor racing, dog shows, pub quizzes, what ever. I don't care very much about bragging rights, or milestones, but I'm happy to be a medium sized fish in a medium sized pond, and the points and the teams form a mechanism which shows me I'm in the right sort of area. And forums keep me in touch with like-minded people.

    [ASIDE] I'm also an amateur family historian. I hate it when I mention this to people and the immediate reaction is "How far back have you got?" - it's just irrelevant to what I enjoy. But being part of a Family History Society where other people understand why finding a particular piece of paper, or obsessively indexing old documents, is such a thrill means a great deal to me. [/ASIDE]

    So, for whatever reason we become computer nerds, and whatever the reasons for joining forums and teams, at least we have a hobby which should benefit mankind. And what's wrong with that?

    Yes I do feel a bit guilty about the use of electricity, and my carbon footprint. And I am trying to find a way to minimise this, to use the warm machines as space heaters, or to use them to heat water, and to get higher Points/Watt. And I'll probably stop running 24/7 in the near future.
     
  3. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

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    I think the word 'just' in the final sentence shows the difficulty. These aren't "powerful computers ... just running F@H", they are powerful computers specifically built to run F@H. The protein folding problem is one that requires massive parallel processing in order to give results in a reasonable time.
     
  4. ThunderBob

    ThunderBob What's a Dremel?

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    AND of course the most important point of all.......

    the......

    'Have you seen the size of my PPD' factor ;)
     
  5. HoistaWheelie

    HoistaWheelie Slow but steady

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    Fellow scientist !!!!!

    "I am a geeky scientist, who happens to work in the pharmaceutical industry"

    Ahhh a fellow scientists, I am no longer a bench scientist, work for a scientific equipment company now .... but ahhhh, for the love of science :thumb:

    10 years man and boy at a large pharma based in the midlands, sniff, sniff, best 10 years of my life :D

    Biological or chemical side of the business?

    Cheers
     
  6. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    I'm a hardware junkie. I used to spend loads of money buying kit for overclocking etc and decided to reuse it for folding instead of making massive losses in the 2nd hand market (I've also bought lots of new kit for it as well though). Folding is a lot cheaper than keeping phase cooling running or buying dry ice or LN2.

    Also having recently lost my grandfather to Parkinsons and having a young son myself has inspired me to use my spare money of kit that'll help others rather than just entertain me
     
  7. Taffy

    Taffy Folding for Margaret 17/3/2011 RIP

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    I Fold because in the last 5 years I have lost 7 friends to cancer, 2 to Altzeimers, and 2 to strokes, and at present am helping another friend to get over cancer of the tounge, and if you had seen what she has had to go through then you would not wish that on your worst enemy. like Saspro I am OK on the Technical side (been a radio ham for over 54years0 but its the software side that keeps my brain active
     
  8. chin913

    chin913 忍び So say we all

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    The challenge is one good thing for me and the possibility of one day getting in the mag as I dont think I would be very good for the xfactor tv show . :)
     

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