General Distributed Computing FAQ

What is Distributed Computing?
Distributed Computing is a way of combining the processing power of thousands of small computers (ie: PCs) to solve very complex problems that are too large for traditional supercomputers, which are very expensive to build and run. DC projects are based on the donation of CPU cycles by users in return for points. The DC projects that CD Freaks currently supports are mainly focused on curing diseases.

How does DC work?
Participants in the DC project install a small program called a client on their computers which automatically receives Work Units (WUs) processes the WUs, then sends the results back to the project.

Will DC slow down my computer?

No. The clients are designed to run in the background at lowest priority, meaning the client will only use free CPU cycles and will never “steal” CPU cycles from other programs.

What are Work Units?
A Work Unit, or WU for short, is a small chunk of the problem being worked on by the DC project, each user receives and processes WUs, then when the results are sent back, the researchers analyze and reassemble the chunks.

Which DC project should I join?

That is up to your personal preference and which diseases you would like to donate CPU time for.

The current diseases being researched on Folding@Home are:
* Alzheimer’s Disease
* Cancer
* Huntington’s Disease
* Osteogenesis Imperfecta
* Parkinson’s Disease
* Ribosome & antibiotics

More info on F@H projects can be found here:

The current research projects on World Community Grid are:
* Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy
* Fiocruz Genome Comparison
* Help Defeat Cancer
* Human Proteome Folding - Phase 2
* FightAIDS@Home

More info on the WCG projects can be found here:

Can I join both WCG and F@H?
Yes, if you install both the BOINC client for WCG and either the text only console or the graphical client for F@H, your free CPU cycles will be split evenly between F@H and WCG.

I have dial-up internet, can I still join?
Yes, the clients only need to connect to receive new work and send finished work, and the files are not too large to transfer over dialup.

How does the points system work?
Points are awarded for completed WUs and are roughly based on the amount of science done and the amount of system resources used. Points allow users and teams to see how much work they have contributed, and also allows them to compare their output to that of other users and teams.

Feel free to post other questions or suggestions for additions/changes/etc, but please keep them general DC related as there are a few more FAQs on the way :wink:

Thanks :slight_smile:

Is there any special way to load software? Do you have any software installing guides?

Although there’s an Announcement already posted by DoMiN8ToR on DC, I made this a sticky because there’s some additional info here. :wink:

@rolling56 - I use the F@H text client, it does not install. I run it from a shortcut to the .exe in a folder on my desktop that has all the other files in it too.

I was just curious as to what all needs to be installed. Thanks

I’m still working on the other guides, but here are some links that should help for now:

folding@home download page:
there is installation instructions and info for each client available, also there is a search box at the top of the page to see if your user name is already in use (a few people have already had to use _CDF on their user name)
If you are a gamer, I would recommend using the text only client because the graphical client has openGL issues with some games
The CDF F@H team number is 13505 (the client will ask the first time you run it)

For WCG you have to register in order to download and run the client, which can be done here:

Even though the United Devices client is the default, I recommend using BOINC, I found it to be much more user friendly. When you register and download the client it will redirect you to a page with installation instructions.
IIRC you set your team when you register on WCG, just search for CD Freaks and it should come up

hope this helps :slight_smile:

thanks :flower:

Awesome FAQ jwill! Props to you for all your help with our DC teams

my only addition/suggestion would be to use the BOINC client for the WCG projects. It allows for computer shut downs without losing work and automatically utilizes all CPU cores.

Thanks for the info guys.

For the no nonsense text client I made a folder on my desktop called F@H and put the console .exe in there. When you run it you configure it and need internet access to download a WU and the required core to go with it. There are different cores. The next time internet access is needed is when the WU is completed to upload the results and get another WU. Here is a pic of the folder contents for my F@H folder. Right now it is 6.81 MB total. I run the text client 24/7 and rip, burn, surf etc with it running with no problems.

Would it be possible to “advertise” our DC teams on the CDFreaks front page?

Just an idea…

Sorry adict2jane, I missed this post. Yes sure! We are working on it and your help is needed (also jwill and others). PM sent. :wink:

CAn I run more than on WU at a time?

[QUOTE=~Soul~;2095674]CAn I run more than on WU at a time?[/QUOTE]

If you are running the Folding@home project, you can use the SMP client which will utilize both cores of your cpu (or more if you have more cores).
For World Community Grid, the software will automatically detect how many cores you have and run that many WUs at a time.

cool , where do I sign up ? :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=~Soul~;2096700]cool , where do I sign up ? :)[/QUOTE]

For FAH read the first post here:
Our team # is 13505

For WCG read the first post here:
or just go here:

Make sure you add yourself to the CD Freaks team after signing up

Happy crunching :slight_smile: