1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Response to folding question

Discussion in 'bit-tech Folding Team' started by Cupboard, 13 May 2009.

  1. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    Right, first a bit of background. On the ATI Radeon 4770 thread, we have this posted
    followed by this (among others)
    now, apart from the fact that I tend to agree with Jenny_Y8S and find smc8788's comment rather inflammatory, I have taken his/her advice and posted this comment here, because I honestly want to know the answer.

    The way I see it is this. If you have a processor, that you have paid for anyway and is on anyway, then you aren't losing much and are potentially helping someone by folding. If you are creating a computer specifically for folding you are spending money and electricity on your own personal mini supercomputer. Now, because this isn't actually a supercomputer, it will be less efficient than a supercomputer and so instead of funding an organisation who is doing high-powered research into whatever diseases, you are diverting funding somewhere less efficient and burning up more energy as a byproduct.

    Bearing this in mind, why do people fold? It seems to me that you would be better off donating your money elsewhere and not having a load of potentially noisy, heat generating machines on your home, unless you just do it for the rankings, which is incredibly vain.

    I do fold myself btw, the influx of enthusiastic CPC folders got me started and I do think it is a worthwhile thing for my computer to be doing whilst I am out.
     
  2. SazBard

    SazBard 10 PRINT "C64 FTW"

    Joined:
    28 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    328
    Likes Received:
    5
    I fold for the points, not that i generate much of them. I try to set myself a particular goal, and reach it. I wanted to get to 20k, and I did.

    I don't really have much money at the moment and I cant really afford to burn electricity for no real gain to my life. So in that sense, you are right, yes I am being vain if I am wasting electricity just to go up a leaderboard of people i have never and probably never will meet.

    If I had lots of money I would deffinitely make a folding farm to gain that elusive 1st place, but I don't and its never going to happen probably.

    If you want to call me vain, then so be it.

    Everyone has their hobbies and interests, some might seem dumb to others, but who am I to judge others, each to their own. Especially if they have worked very hard to get to the top of their particular hobby/interest.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
  3. DocJonz

    DocJonz Another CPC refugee .....

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    63
    When issue 70 of CPC comes out, I think you'll see quotes from some of the so-called 'top Folders' as to why they Fold .....

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    Taking it simply as a (passive) hobby, this does seem to make a bit more sense but as you say, this does seem a bit dumb to me. I suppose it is on the pretense of doing it "for the greater good".

    DocJonz: that might be interesting
     
  5. Thaifood

    Thaifood Minimodder

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    787
    Likes Received:
    15
    i guess in a nut shell, i fold as part of a team for one ultimate goal.. to find cure for these deseases.
    "Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes. "
    By doing it this way it makes u feel part more of a community with the same gaol.. the more u fold, hopefully the faster we can find why this happens to people
     
  6. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

    Joined:
    25 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    12,726
    Likes Received:
    456
    First of all can I request that other dedicated folder from CPC/bt reply to this as I am doing whatever your respense may be, this person has raised a valid if somewhat narrow minded question and it needs to be answered.

    smc has every reason to be inflamatory in his response. What you and the original poster are effectively doing is making little of many peoples contribution of time, money and effort to valueable medical and scientific research. You can't possibly expect him not to disagree strongly with your views?

    In response to a few things you have said firstly;

    You have made two very big errors with this statement. Firstly, Stanford University is one of the leading institutions if not the outright leading institution in medical research focused on human proteins in North America and the world. I know of very few research foundations who have conducted anywhere near the amount of research into cures for currently untreatable or unexplained diseases as Stanford has. It is a well known fact that Vijay Pande is one of the world leaders in the field of physical and biophysical chemistry, and that the research that he is able to carry out with the F@H project is second to none offered by any other institution in the world. He has taken the seemingly limitless power of distributed computing and applied it to it's most useful puropose, scientific research, and nobody no matter who they may be or what they know should make the assumption that the F@H project is not conducting high powered research. The fact is that there is no other research in this field that is more powerful that what Stanford is doing.

    That leads me on to the second mistake that you made. The whole reason that Vijay started using distributed computing for his research simulations was because there is no supercomputer or cluster of supercomputers in the world that is capable of carrying out the calculations that the research requires in any useful space of time. The F@H project has officially been classed as being the worlds most powerful supercomputer by a large margin. Simulations that might take a single, seemingly powerful supercomputer hundreds of days to complete can be returned in as little as 2 days when distributed to the hundreds of thousands of processors connected to the project.

    Don't ever accuse a participant in the F@H project of wasting the money that is spent on building dedicated folding rigs and the electricity that is used to run them. First of all, how people spend their money is absolutely no concern of yours or anyone elses. Secondly, I can think of infinitely more things that money could be spent on and truly referred to as wasted. The money that I have already spent on folding @ home is my contribution to a charitable project that is actively trying to help others who are not fortunate enough to be in good health as I am.

    I fold for the sick people. I fold because I believe in the project and it's ability to help them. A close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer less than 3 weeks ago and is actually undergoing surgery related to that cancer as I am typing this. Maybe my money would be better going to a cancer hospice, or a different cancer research charity, but the fact is the research that F@H is doing is valueable, and I am good at building and running the hardware that is necessary to keep that research going and maybe even advance it. If you are so cynical as to think that every person who builds dedicated folding hardware is doing it for the points and the ranks, go and read Nitteos GPU2 farm thread at OCN or Atlas Folder's website and see why they participate in the project.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
    smc8788 likes this.
  7. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    Thank you for the response.

    I am not denying by any stretch that Stanford are doing useful research backed up by the folding. 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 than* consumer hardware.

    I understand your point that "how people spend their money is absolutely no concern of yours or anyone elses. Secondly, I can think of infinitely more things that money could be spent on and truly referred to as wasted." however I am trying to understand why people do this.

    I will go and try to find those logs.

    OK, in nitteo's thread, comments like this really make me question the motivation
    "That is AMAZING! Glad you're folding for OCN!" (emphasis added by me)

    *this was corrected from "that"
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
  8. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

    Joined:
    25 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    12,726
    Likes Received:
    456
     
  9. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

    Joined:
    23 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    46
    OK, that comment isn't by nitteo, it's by someone else. Let's not confuse the issue - that isn't why nitteo folds.
     
  10. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

    Joined:
    23 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    46
    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 surgury 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, 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?
     
  11. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

    Joined:
    23 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    46
    I forgot to add - 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. Add I'll probably stop running 24/7 in the near future.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
  12. broadcaststorm

    broadcaststorm Folding for 35947!

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    58
    Likes Received:
    1
    Does it really matter why each individual folder is folding?
    Some do it "for the science"(part of the reason I do it), some do it to see their names in the mag/leaderboard (also part of the reason I do), some do it to learn more about performance hardware and the configuration of the kit (same again, part of why I do it), and I'm sure there are 101 other reasons.
    If we want to "waste" time/money/whatever, thats up to us, but I see it as a genuine attempt to make things better for the world, part of the thrill being that a machine you set up could be right now folding a protein that would lead to a major breakthrough, but personally I do not see it as a waste.
    IMO.
     
  13. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    You have a point there, I was just using it as an example

    You make a lot of good points, and your replies in general have been very helpful, thank you. I think the issue that you mention in your aside is similar to the "issue" I was trying to raise here.

    That is another aspect, yes.
     
  14. SwiftDestiny101

    SwiftDestiny101 Has a wire neatness fetish...

    Joined:
    23 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    236
    Likes Received:
    6
    That is the point of having a folding team, Stanford are encouraging competition between people to spur them on to greater heights than say if they were folding on their own.

    Whoever sat down and first drew up the F@H system must have realized that a lot of people are naturally competitive (I believe the use of 'vain' to be the wrong term) and awarding points within a team based structure will be a great carrot on a stick, so to speak. Custom PC then also made the same realization, offering rewards for folder's of the month, making the incentive to perform greater still.

    I hate to make generalistic of sweeping statements but I'm going to stick my neck out here; To fold you need a high spec machine, and the top end of the market in PC hardware is populated a majority by gamers, casual or hardcore there still there. And what do gamers enjoy more than anything? Competition and winning.

    I personally do it for the points, and while trying to squeeze every last PPD out of my hardware, I'm benefiting science that little bit more. It's like hiding vegetables in kids food, the points aren't there to make you vain merely there to add a level of interest and excitement to something that would otherwise be a fairly dull activity.
     
  15. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    Folding is an entirely passive activity as far as the humans are concerned, sure the points do add a bit of competition but it's not like there is anything you can "practice" at to make you better, you just have to spend more money which is, as hobbies go, a bit strange. You get little to no pleasure out of it directly, you will always get "beaten" by those with more money than you and you still have to find a way to spend time that your are not working, which would usually be taken up by a hobby that requires user input!
     
  16. Fisher.

    Fisher. partially impartial

    Joined:
    21 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    129
    I'm not sure I agree with that entirely. Having computers and modding as a hobby normally means you're going to have a decent portion of your disposable income wrapped up in hardware as it is, so why not put it to use for a greater good, instead of just good use? Not to mention most of the hardware you have now won't be running in your computer in 5 years, not necessarily because it's broken, but because it's "old". Also, there are very few hobbies you can get into that don't cost anything up front, and if you want the "best of the best" then you're expected to pay a premium for it.

    Let's take paintball, just for example. You can't get into the sport without a gun and mask, period. You can get this for under $150 to get you into the game, but if you want the "best" you'll get something along the lines of this, this, this, and this, which will be around $2,000. They both do the same thing (shoot paintballs) but if you want the best, you'll pay dearly.

    I personally do find pleasure in building systems and/or folding, as to some extent they are intertwined. You can't fold without one and if you have one, why not fold on it? As far as being "beaten" by those with more money, you will find that anywhere you go. Does that mean you're not going to take your car to the track just because someone else can bring their Ferrari? No. It's all about the fun you have with it and the joy you got out of the effort.

    There is only one place at the top, and it's normally going to be taken by the person who devotes the most time to said project, whatever that may be. The only difference is that in this "competition" everyone wins, because everyone has contributed to a good cause using something they (most of us, at least) already had in their possession.

    I think that's probably one of it's greatest strengths, TBH. My computer at home is still doing its part while I'm at work, and the same for my computer at work over the weekends! I mean, what's not to like about that? You can add another hobby with comparatively little effort, and still have time for others! It's not something that has to consume your life, but if you want it to, you'll end up rising through the ranks faster than you would think.

    You say why, but I say why not? What are you losing by deciding to fold? An extra $2 a month on your electric bill? I think about that, and then look at my $3,000+ home pc that I had built long before I started folding. Gets a little easier to justify after that, wouldn't you say?
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
  17. Christopher N. Lew

    Christopher N. Lew Folding in memory of my father

    Joined:
    23 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    46
    I think you may find hard-core enthusiasts disagree with you. There is a certain amount of skill involved in choosing and assembling the hardware, and then overclocking it. There are people who are prepared to spend hours lapping their heatsinks in order to gain a slight improvement in performance. There are long and involved threads about getting best PPD/watt-of-electricity, or PPD/cost-of-purchase, or just about any metric you choose.
     
  18. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

    Joined:
    30 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    2,148
    Likes Received:
    30
    Fisher: if you read my first post you will see that I do agree with you in part. If the hardware is there anyway then I absolutely agree that folding is a good use for it, I fold for that very reason. The thing I am disputing is buying hardware specifically for folding, which is what people have spent most of the time trying to change my opinion about.

    Now, I still think it is a silly idea and isn't something I will be doing, at least in the near future, myself but I do understand a bit better why people do it.

    As far as the analogy to paint-balling goes, if I were to spend thousands on paintball gear I would still be worse than someone who has got cheaper gear but does it a lot because I have never done it. With folding, I can go out and spend money and instantly be getting through more units than you.
     
  19. manxminx

    manxminx Opps, I broke my Dremel . . .

    Joined:
    9 May 2009
    Posts:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some people buy expensive cars, spend thousands on tuning and buying bits to make the cars better/faster. There's loads of videos on Youtube of cars on Dynos. 1000 HP. Wow! People spend £10s of thousands on car tuning and getting extra horsepower.

    Some people will pay £10s of thousands on audio equipment. Some will easily spend £30,000 or more on a pair of loudspeakers.

    People have hobbies. Many of these hobbies eat money like there's no recession. How many of these hobbies actively help mankind? That actively and directly benefit research into cancers and diseases?

    Folding costs a lot less than getting the magical 1000HP our of a car. Actually, compared to some other hobbies, folding, even having dedicated folding rigs, is a cheap hobby. So it uses Electricity? Cars drink fuel when going round the track. All hobbies cost money in consumables.

    Sorry, but that just shows your ignorance, and is a statement bound to anger many people, including me with just a simple (but home made) dual core PC. Building my own PC took months of research and learning, and then I had to put all that in practice. Even if you were to give me £5K right now, there's no way I could build a killer folding rig. I don't have that level of skill, or practice. If you really want to open your eyes to the amount of skill it takes to set up a folding rig, just read this thread: http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=931366#931366. And how did Atlasfolder get to that level of skill? Practice of course! Give £5K to the man in the street and ask him to build a killer rig and he couldn't. It tales both SKILL and PRACTICE. As well as a lot of knowledge. It took me three goes to install a folding client on my PC. On the third go, I got it right. Learning takes practice.

    You tell me one hobby, one skill, that you don't get better at without practice. I bet you can't. Have you never practised at anything? have you no skills?

    Even baking the perfect Cheesecake takes practice!

    Sorry, but some of the comments on this thread have really angered me.

    Ali.
     
    Last edited: 13 May 2009
  20. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

    Joined:
    25 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    12,726
    Likes Received:
    456
    +1

    I couldn't agree with everything that you said more Ali.

    In reply to the comment "I can go out and spend money and instantly be getting through more units than you", I have to disagree wholeheartedly. The word 'instantly' is where you've made the mistake here. Go and read my rack farm thread (linked in my signature). I am in the design process at present and three pages later the design is still ongoing. I estimate that once i have started to build it, the farm will take approximately 2 months to build 100%, and a further several months to upgrade, tune and tweak for the maximum PPD that the incorporated hardware is capable of.

    I hope that you are realizing that you can't just barge into the folding forum and post your frankly unfounded and inaccurate opinions and expect anyone to agree with you. Maybe you didn't expect people to agree with you, and if not then I have no idea why you would want to voice such a strong opinion among dozens of dedicated folders who do so much for the project.

    I'm going to be honest, I could pick this thread to pieces and write about it for hours, but instead I am going to leave my currently voiced opinions for you and go draw up some more plans for my next folding rig.
     

Share This Page