Folding@home, at home, even when I'm not home (and trying to write a 15 char Topic Name and keep typing anyway)

I must be chewing through power, 'cause both my Ubuntu 18.04.4 machine are whining away on their CPU and case and GPU fans…

Took a few days to actually get it using the GPU… (only got it working couple hours ago)

I found out about this through website, which I follow on facebook (just like I follow @Abishek and It’sFoss on facebook)…

Anyway here’s what I had to do to get GPU and CUDA doing datasets, as well as my CPU cores :

Get the binaries : :
I used wget, my favouritest download manager :smiley:

for F in "fahclient_7.5.1_amd64.deb fahcontrol_7.5.1-1_all.deb fahviewer_7.5.1_amd64.deb"

(RPM family under Ubuntu/Debian download section)
Install 'em :

sudo dpkg -i fahclient_7.5.1_amd64.deb

(and/or the rest - they’re handy for troubleshooting)

If you want GPU/CUDA folding - probably best to go with the Proprietary drivers, but there’s other stuff you need (I installed nvidia-390 from “Additional Drivers” in “Software & Updates” (this is the only time I use the GUI software installer - otherwise I just use “apt install” or “dpkg -i”) as well, like libcuda and opencl :

sudo apt install ocl-icd-libopencl libcuda1-384 ocl-icd-opencl-dev

(note : libcuda1-384 seems to work just fine with nvidia-390)… however the “final” piece of the puzzle that got me cooking with gpu’s, was “ocl-icd-opencl-dev”… also someone had to reboot to get the libcuda1 bit working… I rebooted anyway…

One thing I was never able to resolve, was remotely looking at the Web Control interface (i…e from another computer), it’s “locked down” to, and even when I change that to 0/0 or, it still spits back “401 HTTP UNAUTHORIZED /”

My workaround, is to tunnel X over SSH and run firefox “remote”…

e.g. one of my machines (built it on Saturday morning, Ubuntu 18.04 fresh install, Quad Core AMD cpu, Quadro2000 GPU) I’ve called “fachinell”, and I run ahavi “everywhere”, so I can just

╭─x@whymir ~  
╰─➤  ssh -X fahcinell.local
╭─x@fahcinell ~  
╰─➤  echo $DISPLAY

And in there, I just run

╭─x@fahcinell ~  
╰─➤  firefox -new-window http://localhost:7396 &

Overall their doco and readmes aint that helpful, most of what I “learned” was from other websites like reddit et cetera.

Anyway - only one of mine (leftmost) is actually working on Covid-19, but at least its the hex-core one with 768 CUDAs (GTX650Ti-OC) :

I read another article (maybe from Hackaday, or some other Linux/OSS group) that the distributed computing power of the folding@home network has now outpaced not just IBM Summit, but ALL the top 7 supercomputers of the world, combined!

update - I don’t think that CoronaVirus folding job is actually Covid-19, it’s CoronaVirus-Sars (I think Covid-19 is CoronaVirus-Sars2) - but it’s all useful stuff for the boffins in white lab coats, I reckon, and related, knowing about SARS helps them know more about Covid-19…


My GTX650Ti is now actually working on Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2), but my Hex Core Phenom (i.e. my CPU and GPU are doing different work sets) is working on something else (Project 14400 - myosin simulation)…

And the GPU heat generated is acceptable (not as hot as my RPi4 was running before I got it a heatsink case with fan)…

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OK - so it’s been over 8 weeks - since I’ve been WFH for #ISO Covid 19 (I’ve got a script that tells me how many days since 18/03/2020) - and finally got fed up of the “Frankenstein” system on my main desktop “rig” - which I use for 3D gaming (pretty much all Steam games), but I let “idle” cycles be used by Folding@Home, including CPU and CUDA cores - I’ve got a cronjob that stops folding@home about 7 am and starts it again about 9 pm - so it’s not running when I’m using it for “WFH”… anyway this system had an ancient HP 24" 1680x1050 screen - and - a samsung 21" 1280x1024 (4:3)… Plus an AMD Phenom II X6, 12 GB RAM, 250 GB SSD and 1.5 TB HDD… (running Ubuntu Gnome 18.04.4)

So I went out and got an NVidia GTX1650 OC (to replace GTX650Ti OC) and a 32" QHD Lenovo monitor…

But it was also to boost up my daughter’s aging/ailing AMD Phenom II x2 CPU with 8 GB of RAM and some “low power” NVidia GPU (i.e. a non-GTX) - running Windows 8.1 pro (both my daughters hate Windows 10, me? I HATE them all, but I prefer Win10 to 8.x , mainly 'cause it plays better with NIX, e.g. native SSH and NFS clients and WSL).

So I donated my other Folding@Home machine (Phenom II x2 with 16 GB RAM) to her, with the GTX650, and I bought her a new “AC” 5Ghz PCIe card too… GODDAMN Windows is slow! I just booted her old copy of Win 8.1 from her old 1.5 TB HDD on “newer” motherboard and CPU and RAM (and case)… took forever - and RIGHT THEN WINDOWS wants to update! Man - it took THREE HOURS (and it felt like 8) to get the drivers for the PCIe wifi card and GTX650 GPU downloaded and running (even though it already had NVidia drivers installed).

What about my gaming rig? Booted it up with the new GPU, after re-purposing 16 GB RAM from my non-function VMware ESX “cluster”, still using DVI to the old 24" HP monitor, and it’s running at 640x480 - and I’ve got a bunch of things setup for my poor eyesight (like ginormous fonts!) - so none of the “OK” buttons on any dialogs even fit on the screen! The NVidia drivers (440 proprietary) which were working perfectly well with my GTX650, didn’t like my GTX1650! Doh!

Seems even though Ubuntu now support NVidia proprietary drivers “out of the box” - this was not the case for the GTX1650…

So I had to add a PPA (golden rule - avoid PPA’s at all costs if you can avoid them!) - and then apt remove and apt purge everything Nvidia (from CLI)… reboot several times… then go to the GUI doohicky “Additional Drivers” (this is the ONLY time I ever use the GUI to do software stuff - but also use it sometimes to remove PPA’s) , and then enable the 430 series drivers from the PPA in “Additional Drivers”, which support the GTX1650 - reboot…

Works a treat!

Disconnect the HP 24" screen from DVI, hook up the Lenovo 32" over HDMI - and I AM COOKING WITH GAS! I’ve got a 2560x1440 desktop…

Now - the Linux verison of this anecdote might sound long and labourious, but it was FORTY FIVE MINUTES! Compare that to the Windows 8.1 THREE HOURS!

My “spare” Folding@home machine is now “off”… it’s basically my daughter’s old ATX case absolutely stuffed with “dust” (the main ingredient of which is one of our cat’s hair!) - … I reckon this will simply be a case of insert the old HDD, the NVidia Quadro Pro GPU (it’s nothing special like about 72 cudas or something i.e. less than 50% of the GTX650 Ti OC) - then power it on again, and it will all come good and start folding away on datasets 24x7… Linux plays so much more nicely with odd, dare I say it “legacy” hardware… I swear - Linux is like 10,000x more plug and play than anything from Redmond Seattle…