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Subject: Folding for the Cure - Welcome and Basic FAQ
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Zarg Sep 29, 2006 12:25 AM Reply | Bookmark
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Zarg Sep 29, 2006 12:27 AM Reply | Bookmark
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For links to other FAQs, and lots more, check

For comments, ask questions, to say hi, etc. you can create  a new thread or post in an existing thread in the folding forum at

This message was modified by the poster at 02 08, 2010 06:24 AM

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Zarg Sep 29, 2006 12:29 AM Reply | Bookmark
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Frequently Asked Questions and Installation Instructions

1) What is a Distributed computing?
A Distributed Computing (DC) project is a way to tackle a massive task by splitting up the work so that thousands of computers all over the world can help. Although regular computers can be used to design such items as aircraft, cars and computer chips, some problems, such as determining exactly how diseases such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s works, is millions of times harder. The computational power needed is much greater than researchers can possibly have. So these DC projects make use of the otherwise unused processing power of computers to advance the research.
Some examples are:
SETI - analyzes radio telescope signals to try find for alien signals
PRIME - searches for very large prime numbers
Folding at Home - analyzes protein folding to find cures for some of the worst diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), Parkinson's disease and cancer.

2) Who runs the Folding at Home project?
The Folding at Home medical research project is run by Stanford University and Stanford University Medical School and is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. It is a non-profit distributed computing project with all results and data available to all researchers and the public without cost. This maximize the usefulness of the work and accelerates finding cures for these diseases. Combining advanced algorithms development and a focused attack on specific diseases this is often considered as the best medical research DC project. It has had the most visible progress, and unlike some other medical DC projects, will not sell the data or make any money off of it.

3) How does it work?
This research gives a fundamental understanding of how these diseases works, often at the atomic level, providing a very powerful way to see how to stop these diseases.
Full instructions are further down this page, but a basic summary is that people that wish to help would download a small program from Stanford University, install it and answer a few questions – and yes, we’ll give you the information you need for the best answers for you!
Note: please read our instructions, as they include important tips and suggestions that are not mentioned in the official installation guide.
The program does its analysis when there is unused processing power available. You just use your PC like you always have. It is designed so you won’t even notice that it is there, no matter what program you use.

4) How safe is it?
Google did an evaluation of the security risk. It stated that it had carefully chosen this specific DC project after undergoing thorough reviews, security-audits and significant testing.
In addition, the program is ONLY available on the Stanford University Research server, and is carefully controlled with a very high level of encryption.
The program has been installed by hundreds of thousands, including many companies such as Apple and HP and many colleges and universities. It does not send any information except the results of the project work unit it completes.

5) NCIX? Teams?
To make the project more interesting for those that wish to contribute to this medical research project, points are awarded for completing each piece of work to the person who completes that work, as well as to that person’s team. These points have no value, and are not tradeable. They indicated how much each person and team has contributed to the project.
We are one of the thousands of teams participating in this project, and the top team in Canada. NCIX is a highly rated major computer store chain in Canada (both over the web as well as retail). It also has one of the most active computer related forums in Canada. The team is not part of the store, but rather is founded and run by some of the members of the forum. We are volunteers to help run this team.
Note that NCIX does not gain any direct financial benefit relating to this team. NCIX however does support the research project by supporting this team in many ways (such as use the use of their forums, draws for prizes for members of the folding team, etc.), and we are very thankful for that support. There is no need to be a member of the forum, nor have to do anything with NCIX. However, if you want to participate in a draw sponsored by NCIX, they are only open to active folding members that are also a forum member. Also, if you have any questions or want more information, or just to say hi, the best way is to join the forum. There is no cost to joining the folding team nor to joining the NCIX forum.

6) What does it do?
It works only when your computer has some idle time. And it all works automatically so you don't have to do anything. It starts by obtaining a project work unit (WU) from Stanford University, completing an analysis and then sending back the result. It will then download another WU. It often takes a few days to complete a project WU. There is no need to change how you use the computer. It automatically saves its work when you shutdown the computer, and then resumes when the computer is running again. It also does not run when using battery power on a notebook computer. As it doesn't use much Internet bandwidth (only needed when getting a WU and then when sending the result), it works fine even with a modem.

7) Some links
The science:
The diseases we're fighting:

8) Installation Information
There are 3 basic steps to setting up folding:
1) Get the folding program
2) Start the configuration
3) Answer some questions
Although there are instructions at Stanford University, we have taken it and improved it with tips and suggestions. As this is a long term medical research project, these instructions are designed to make participating so easy that you will continue to help the research.
Note that you should only run folding on a computer you own or have written/email permission. It is illegal to install any program on another person's computers without them knowing about it.

Pick a folding name
Choose a name. Please pick one that has not already been used on the team. It is suggested to use your forum name. If you want your folding name to be completely unique, just adding _NCIX after your forum name usually will do it.
List of names used on our team:
Check if your name is used by anyone folding:
Don't forget our team number is 37412.

Pick a folding client
There are several different programs that do folding and for different OSes such as Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, OS X, Linux, BSD and for the PS3.

For Windows XP/Vista/7, there are 3 clients, the GPU client (for ATI and Nvidia cards), the regular CPU client (any x86 based CPU) and the SMP CPU client (requires two or more cores). Note that many people have more than just one client running on a specific computer e.g. having 1 GPU client and 1 CPU client.

The GPU client is suggested for anyone that has an ATI HD3850/3870/4650/4670/4830/4850/4870 and any 5000 series or an Nvidia 8500/8600/8800 or any 9000, 200 or 300 series card. Note many people pause the client while playing more intensive games (one click to pause/unpause). Note ATI cards also uses one CPU core.

The Windows SMP client is currently being modified so not suggested just yet. There is an alternate client (Linux SMP) that can run on windows. This is a more complicated install, but is by far the best CPU client. See the Links thread for more info.

The regular CPU client is a simple single core client. For multiple cores, this client can be installed more than once.

Instructions for the various clients are listed in the Links thread at:

Once you have completed your first project work unit, it takes up to six hours before it appears on the statistics board. Make sure to request for a folding tag (see Links thread for more info)

This message was modified by the poster at 12 05, 2009 12:51 PM

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Zarg Oct 30, 2006 11:14 AM Reply | Bookmark
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Please don't POST in this thread!

For comments, ask questions, make suggestions, etc. please either create  a new thread or post in an existing thread in the folding forum

This message was modified by the poster at 02 08, 2010 06:20 AM

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Camel? Apr 27, 2010 07:11 AM Reply | Bookmark
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Tips: 3030 Points tipped from 1 members

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Ian_B Oct 26, 2012 06:28 AM Reply | Bookmark
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F tag?

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FragYourFriends Dec 21, 2012 02:02 PM Reply | Bookmark
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I wonder if FfH is contributing directly to this. Statements show "proteins" interaction which I would assume, is possibly helped along by the units done by FfH? .. :)

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Tim_H Dec 21, 2012 07:07 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Some of these might be related, possibly or at least in the same field.

PS: try not to post in this thread(See second post)

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