Choosing the right project...

By Julio Franco ยท 25 replies
Sep 9, 2002
  1. Before we launch Team TechSpot officially, I believe we should get together and decide what's going to be the best project we could join.

    First thing to consider I believe is if the project is really helpful. For example, SETI is cool and has one of the best databases of 3rd party tools, etc., in fact I was extremely happy with it returning results for work units in very little time compared to the overall average (4 hours instead of 10!).

    In the other hand, you can't compare the search for extraterrestrial vs. cancer cure!

    UD is nice, it has the best looking utility of all and isn't as consuming as SETI GUI, however the problem I'm seeing with it is that you can't have WU (work units) cached, you can't resume packages (so if you restart your PC you go back to 0%) and WU take quite a longer time than SETI, which is a bad thing because... you can't resume!

    So unless we have a lot of members using broadband and leaving their PCs turned on all day, we don't have much of an opportunity.

    That's where the team's second priority comes in... room for competition. As you probably are aware of, many other hardware sites compete for the top spots in all these distributed computing projects... while I'm not looking pure recognition, I do believe some healthy competition does help the cause and I would love to see TechSpot Team scaling positions and making it's way to the top.

    Having considered that...

    I would like you guys to help me choosing any of the computing efforts before we go live with it. I know you have been TS regulars for quite some time and you will follow us wherever we head to in the future concerning this project, however regular users will be much harder to convince.

    Do not try making big sacrifices for now in neither of the projects as we could switch in little time and I do know it's annoying going back to zero.

    I'm currently downloading clients for Folding@home, I will see how those turn up and keep you updated.

    Any help or experience related to the different options we have would be kindly appreciated.
  2. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 761

    I did Seti and the cancer cure screensaver for awhile over at Anand's team. I felt that the cancer cure screensaver was a better reason for me to leave my computer on 24/7 than to do math computations.

    Im in for either one. I think the cancer screensaver one is best because it is for a good cause and it isnt eating up cpu cycles when your actually using the computer.
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    I miss SETI.

    I know, I like the whole Cancer research thing, but the UD client needs some work :dead:

    For example, I have 28k, the WUs for UD are 800-900kb. These take a few minutes to download. In comparison to SETI's 300-400k-ish WUs, which downloading 10 of is easy...Did I mention you can cache SETI WU's? :D

    I don't know about TTS' competition in UD, but in SETI I don't think we would have a chance. There are single people with about 100 computers running SETI 24/7 (Team Anandtech's Robor for example - recently broke the 100,000 WU mark) on some teams. But, since everyone's basically doing UD, I don't think we have the option of SETI anyway. And with Papa posting the link and info for the UD team in the SETI thread...:mad: Grrrrr!

    UD rated my CPU 2/3 slower than a P4 1.5GHz, what's with that? it's more than 2/3 faster than a I dunno if I want to do it...And they include available disk space in the system rating.

    Anyway, I know I rehashed some of what Julio said, but that's all I like and don't like.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    My personal opinion is the cancer one. But I'll probably go with whatever is the majority on our site. Espically when winter comes around and my ground floor will be averaging 65 degrees F (very good for my athlon).
  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,272   +456

    I vote for UD Cancer because it hits a bit closer to home. Not that anyone I know has cancer, but if a cure is found wouldn't it be nice to know that we might have had something to do with it? What if afterwards someone we know finds out they do have it and now there's a cure.

    It's true the UD client needs some work, but it's young compared to SETI and as it picks up in popularity more tools will spring up (hopefully some clients for other OSes.)

    As far as the overall rating thing, I don't really think that matters. My main machine is rated at 173, but I think that's just some bogus number generated by a combination of several of the machine's stats. I don't think it had too big an effect on the actual time it takes to process a unit except on the processor section. That takes a while to update as well so you can't tell right from the beginning.

    Keep in mind that I do still run SETI on my Macs - only because they don't have any UD clients yet. As soon as they do I think I'll switch them - SETI is super slow on them anyway. I also run a single instance of SETI CLI on each of my duallie machines - I just started this since UD isn't SMP capable/aware.

    P.S. - I think the GUI version of Win32 SETI is SMP capable - on my duallies it uses 100% of my CPU time except for the first few seconds.

  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,667   +988

    Any comments on Folding? I've put UD to sleep for a few hours while I try the Folding@home client, I'm running the Windows GUI.

    I would run the command based utility however I read somewhere that the GUI doesn't even take 1% of the CPU time, so should be the same... it has been running for quite a few hours now and it's only at 19%... :eek:

    Anyway, I've got to test it more - Folding seems to be very popular too (nothing like SETI though), haven't found any 3rd parties yet and no caching apparently either, however packets do resume...

    Oh and BTW, Folding does have SMP, Linux and Mac support. If some people can test it, it would be nice to have more opinions other than mine :grinthumb .
  7. ss1

    ss1 TS Rookie Posts: 94

    Folding@home gets my vote as well.

  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Personally, my feelings on aliens are as follows:

    1)Of course there are aliens out there in the vastness of space. The universe will be teeming with life.

    2)Why the Hell would they come here?

    3)Who cares anyway?

    Curing cancer, on the other hand, is a much more worthwhile cause.

    So I vote for UD.
  9. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,957   +214

    Well, for 56k users, and for any OS other than Windows the Distributed RC5 CLient would be a good choice, it allows you to choose how many packets you like to download, and it allows resuming...

    Though hacking 64bit encryption isn't really "well used computing time" to put it in that way...

    Seti which has been mentioned above feels a bit like RC5, ok, so we find an Alien signal coming 2000 galaxies away, but what are we going to do with that?

    Then atlast we have UD, which the people at out IRC channel has started a small unoficcial team of, and while it's cause is one of the best, running the client is a whole other thing...

    Just like everyone else has said... Though as it gets older it will probably offer more features so if we begin runnig it now we should have an edge regarding competition when the client gains more popularity...

    So my vote is for the UD Cancer agent...
  10. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    I vote for UD too. If aliens are smart, they prolly won't touch Earth with a 50 foot pole.;)

    The UD caching issue is a bit problematic but looking at their forums, it seems it has been brought to their attention quite a few times allready.

    Just for clarification, it doesn't restart at 0% when you close it. According to the UD FAQs, here's what happens when you quit the process. ( UD Forums FAQs )

    Here is a post by Rymond H. Earle...

    Taken from Project FAQ's: Cancer Research Project

  11. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,957   +214

    I just tried this an UD did resume when I restarted my comp...
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    If it comes down to technical aspects playing a part in the decision I move that the speed of people's connections be a more prime motivator than OS or platform.

    My reasons for this are:

    1)Even although I have a 512mbps cable connection, I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of members are dial up users, and

    2)That even although I have multiple operating systems, the vast majority are PC Windows users.

    The main criteria then should be that its low bandwidth friendly. If its not non-Windows compatible then sorry but I don't think that should be a primary factor.

    Before someone bursts in with cries of "That's not fair I have Linux / Mac OS" or something, please consider that that is essentially just as selfish as me saying "That's not fair I have cable so stuff you 56k lamerz...."
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    From a "good cause" perspective, surely curing cancer is the most worthwhile cause put forward so far.

    1 in 4 of us will get some kind of cancer at some point in our lives. Anyone who has lived with someone suffering from cancer will know about the almost unimaginable pain and suffering that this can cause. And the high mortality rates cause immense grief and sorrow in the friends and relatives left behind when cancer prematurely kills.

    I don't give a crap about aliens, etc.
  14. csimon

    csimon TS Rookie

    I highly recommend Folding@home ...for more info check out our team site here ... ...we always welcome some real competition!!!:grinthumb
  15. muddocktor

    muddocktor TS Rookie


    I've also come over from the Icrontic forums to ask you to try Folding@Home. Folding is run by Vijay Pande, who is an Assistant Professor of both Chemistry and Structual Biology at Stanford University. This program is run from Stanford and doesn't have ties to private enterprise, who might be tempted to use the results of this project to develop drugs or cures that would only be released though themselves.

    Here are some links to the project:

    Stanford Folding@Home hompage:
    People at Stanford involved in the project:
    The scientific background of folding:
    The results page:
    Finally, the download page:

    As you can see on the downloads page, there are several versions of Folding@Home for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. I presently use the console version in windows as it has the least issues. The GUI version runs fine also, unless you have older video drivers and I've also heard that 3dfx card have had issues in the past with the GUI version.

    I hope that you folks will give serious consideration to the Folding@Home project. It is a long-term project and some of the work that you do now might just save your @ss later on in life.;)
  16. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    UD gets my vote. Linux and Windows support is a plus.
  17. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

  18. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,667   +988

    Things seem to be working nicely with UD IMO, we will probably stick with it and go public soon. I read that Icrontic thread, very friendly members over there, nice indeed.

    In the other hand however I wanted to comment on those "website size" comments mostly made by our own members. The fact they have a larger forum community and more distributed computing participation has really nothing to do with a site being more visited. Each site has their own niche and we do our stuff pretty well... if you ask me I would say that TechSpot doubles Icrontic traffic - that is, around the whole site :grinthumb then again, this is a purely informative post, I really like Icrontic guys and their work, nothing personal.
  19. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I consider Techspot one of the larger non-corporate hardware sites... I know we generate massive traffic despite our more humble forum size.

    Perhaps some acknowledgement on the front page of our distributed UD efforts will bolster membership. Right now, I am considering just letting LNCPapa single handedly outdo them. :)
  20. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    LNCPapa is a one man team :rolleyes:

    I'm just kidding of course, he's only our top performer :p
  21. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    There's a Folding client for BeOS now too :)
    I'll begin Folding now. UD continues in Linux whenever I boot to it (not very often).

    Edit: this is not Folding@Home.
  22. Electrick Gypsy

    Electrick Gypsy TS Rookie Posts: 76

    Folding@Home has been my choice for a few months now.
    If yr not happy with the GUI version and would prefer the console version, there's a neat little proggy to help understand what's going on called "Electron Microscope".
    You'll find it here - -
    Very configuable - particularly if you run multiple boxes or processors.
  23. thmandan22

    thmandan22 TS Rookie Posts: 59

    You do realize that the post before you is over three and a half years old! I do agree that folding is more beneficial than SETI, of course what if aliens came here and cured cancer?
  24. Electrick Gypsy

    Electrick Gypsy TS Rookie Posts: 76

    LOL . . yea but what the hell . . . it's a board where you can have your say.
    I actually didn't really expect anybody to read it.
  25. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I think all the projects have valuable ends to them. The same argument was made when we were sending men to the moon. The $ could have been spent here on earth. In the end, space technology has greatly improved many things on earth to include medical science.

    I think the SETI project has valuable contributions. Personally I believe it is a matter of taste. I would like to believe (and I think there is enough evidence for) life to exist in the universe.
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