Next Folding@Home client to bring new user interface

Stanford University has a few surprises up its sleeve for the next version of its distributed protein folding software, according to a post on the blog of Folding@Home Director and Stanford Professor Vijay Pande. The new software is being demonstrated at the SC07 high-performance computing conference in Reno, Nevada, and it includes a brand new graphical user interface for the GPU and non-GPU versions of the upcoming client.

Right now, the GUI is coded for Windows, but we will be migrating it to OSX as well. The main highlights is the new look (check out the screen shot below), new updating scheme (we will update the picture in real time, or close to real time, in the GUI client, much like the GPU and PS3 clients do today), and perhaps most importantly, much better driver support (we’ve fixed most if not all of the bugs leading to driver incompatibilities). The upshot is that this is a major rewrite of much of the GUI leading to better performance, stability, and much prettier look. Thanks to Chris Sweet and ATI for their extra help here and Adam for making it all work.

Additionally, Pande says Stanford and AMD worked together to “scrub” the GPU code “very hard.” The culmination of that effort is a new GPU core in FAH that should be faster, much easier to install, and more accurate. Pande doesn’t quote a release schedule for the new client, but he says the goal is to get it out the door “as soon as possible.”

Comments closed
    • Tarx
    • 12 years ago

    “As many FAH donors have seen, the Folding Community Forum (FCF) has been down for several days. This is a major problem for us as this is how we interact with donors. WW, the maintainer of the forum, has been working with his hosting company to get a solution, but it’s going slowly. In parallel, we have been looking into other options, including hosting a forum at Stanford as a temporary or permanent fix for this issue. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

    In general, this blog is the place to go for information on any of this. One benefit of it being hosted in a separate site is that if either Stanford and/or the FCF go down, it will still be up. If all three somehow go down, we may have bigger problems to deal with!

    I hope to have more information about this soon. It’s important to stress that the forum is a third party contribution to FAH and FAH works completely independent of it (the forum being down doesn’t mean that FAH is down — quite to the contrary).”
    Just saw this on the official news site at §[< http://folding.typepad.com/<]§

      • Tarx
      • 12 years ago

      Oops! – suppose to be a reply to #5!

    • evermore
    • 12 years ago

    More accurate? So the clients are known for producing results that aren’t of any use because it missed a decimal point somewhere?

      • Tarx
      • 12 years ago

      Nope! There are different projects types, each with it’s own level of accuracy (single precision, double precision, etc.). So having a very fast client with a higher level of accuracy gives that client more projects types that it can run.

    • Xenolith
    • 12 years ago

    What new research papers have come from this work? I stopped folding aways back. I would like to have some feedback that this work is doing some good. A fancy new GUI won’t be enough.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 12 years ago

    Maybe they should work on getting a functional SMP client. That’s going to be much more helpful for science for people to be able to successfully run the SMP without babysitting so much. It surely would be an increase in science knowledge too, I’m assuming.

      • wingless
      • 12 years ago

      I thought they had a functional SMP client, albeit in command-line only mode. This new version will probably have a GUI SMP Client or at least one on the way shortly after this release.

        • Firestarter
        • 12 years ago

        The SMP clients for all platforms have been plagued by bugs, some of which have been fixed by the new v6 beta client. Of course, the SMP client for Windows is not available in the v6 flavour.

        I’m all for helping them do some science, but running the same bug ridden beta since february doesn’t do much for confidence in their programming abilities.

          • Tarx
          • 12 years ago

          It depends – some people (like myself) have had just about no issue with either the Windows SMP client (on a C2D) nor the Linux SMP client (on an X2). Others keep running into trouble. I wonder if there are other factors that is making the SMP client run poorly on some systems and well on others even if they are not OCed. I have no idea what the ratio is, but I’d guess around 10% with significant problems, 90% usually no problems.
          In any case, having a client that fails on many systems does point fingers back to the robustness of the software…

            • Firestarter
            • 12 years ago

            I’ve been running the Windows SMP client since March, and have run the Linux SMP client in the summer for 3 months. I don’t have many problems, but that is because I learned to work around the bugs. If I installed it on my gf’s C2D laptop, it’d would fail on half the WU’s.
            The Linux client was fun as well, as it had a very high chance to hang on completion. AFAIK, that has finally been fixed in the v6 client.

    • JokerCPoC
    • 12 years ago

    And Folding is still not Boinc based(They could be If they released the Beta Boinc-Folding app), Which would streamline the program, As then Boinc would handle the mundane requests for normal I/O instead of the F@H program, While the app would do the folding, Rosetta does this already of course(Just not in the Video Card at all).

      • Tarx
      • 12 years ago

      They have stopped working on their Boinc client (I think it was in early beta over a year ago) and focused their attention on much more significant computational clients such as the GPU accelerated client and the PS3 as well as the SMP client. With that, interest in releasing a F@H Boinc has just about disappeared for the near term future.
      Even before those clients were released, it appeared that Boinc was only going to run a limited subset of projects (most likely a separate set of projects)…

    • wingless
    • 12 years ago

    All I want to know is if it has R600 support. F@H is one of the reasons I got this card and its done nothing but waste electricity and accelerate global warming! I want to see the power of 320 powerful stream processors in action.

      • swaaye
      • 12 years ago

      It’s actually more like 64. They stretch the truth with that 320 count. 🙂

      • Tarx
      • 12 years ago

      I suspect that it will as they have been “close” to getting it work for quite a while. I suspect that the decision to do a major rework of this client is why it hasn’t been already released.
      I do hope that the 2600, 2900 and 3800 series will all be supported right away – It would be good move for ATI to be able to announce support of that client when they announce their new 3800 series!

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    Heh, I rather have the command console version.

    • adisor19
    • 12 years ago

    Funny, they’re working on a snazzy new client yet their own forums have been down for more than a week.. Maybe they have their priorities wrong..

    Adi

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      Dunno…I might call them set right, now

      • Tarx
      • 12 years ago

      I’m split on this one. I want the new clients to be released asap, but I also think that it is sad that their support forum has been offline or running quite poorly for much of this year. I do understand that the forum is not part of the F@H project directly but is a major contribution made by an individual. However, with the unacceptably frequent and long downtimes of that forum, I think the F@H will have to heavily thank that individual but move on and get their own forum.

    • Flying Fox
    • 12 years ago

    “As soon as possible”, nice one. 🙂 I’ll believe it when I see it. Sorry for not jumping for joy here because I know how it can (and probably will) turn out.

    Now, the pretty GUI may be nice, but how many cycles is that going to steal?

    No-nonsense console client FTW.

    • Inkedsphynx
    • 12 years ago

    By the screenshot, it’s basically the PS3 folding client ported over.

    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    If it doesn’t work flawlessly with dual-core processors, I don’t care. The shazzy new GUI would go far to entice new folders though. I’d love it if it could run in the background and only show the eyecandy as a screensaver 🙂

    • Gerbil Jedidiah
    • 12 years ago

    This will be even more good reason to get an ATI card if the 3870 is as good as the rumors are predicting

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