Following the spread of COVID-19, Rec Room players have organized a team of donors to contribute to the Folding@home distributed computing project. Participants configure their computers to donate unused processing power to simulating protein molecules for use in medical research, which now includes COVID-19 research.
COVID-19 affected Rec Room Inc.'s home city of Seattle, WA, especially harshly. That fact, combined with the fact that Rec Room's community is largely made of helpful people with VR-ready graphics cards, makes the Folding@home project an ideal cause for the Rec Room community.
Players can join the team using team number 245555, and view current team statistics here: https://stats.foldingathome.org/team/245555
Get more info and talk to other Rec Room donors on the Rec Room folding discord.
How to Contribute
Click here to download and install the Folding@home client. When you launch it, it will ask you to (optionally) register an identity. To join the Rec Room players team, enter team ID 245555 in the prompt.
Caution: The default settings will use gaming performance resources even when you want to play Rec Room, so most users should probably switch to "Only when idle" mode. See Recommended Configuration below for details.
Caution: Please do not use Folding@home on computers that you don't own, like school or office computers, without written authorization from the owner, or else you might get in trouble [|=)]
Important Questions & Answers
- If you have other questions, join the Rec Room folders discord. You're also welcome to DM Joker, @Joker#3657.
Are you sure all this support is helping?
- Yeah. If you read the AMA with the project team, they're pretty convincing that they can put all this processing power to use.
- Medicine is pretty squishy stuff, but a takeaway from the AMA is that that F@H can help COVID-19 solutions (1) be better and/or (2) arrive faster.
- They also point out that scientific data doesn't stay limited to its original purpose. Data generated will benefit medicine generally for decades, including the prospect of helping prevent the next global pandemic.
Is this going to break/wear out my hardware?
- Not if you have quality hardware. Remember, cooling systems are engineered to operate safely at high capacity--they’re just not necessarily engineered to operate quietly at high capacity
- Strictly, it will shorten the life of hardware, but most likely by the time it wears out, the hardware will still be obsolete. This means, years from now.
- If you're still anxious about how your hardware is doing, consider watching your fan speed and temperatures with appropriate software for your motherboard. HWMonitor is a common third-party solution for this and works for most people. Also, it's never the wrong time to spray some air and clean the dust out of your hardware!
Will this use a lot of electricity?
- Not a lot, but not a small amount. This is the one real drawback. In the USA electricity averages $0.12 per kWh. GPUs and CPUs run on the order of 200W-400W. That can add up if you're not careful. See Recommended Configuration below for guidance to avoid too much electricity cost.
How do I select COVID-19 as my preferred folding work?
- For the moment, COVID-19 work units are automatically top priority, according to this forum post:
To help in the fight against COVID-19, you need to select
- Webcontrol : "Any disease" in the list "I support research fighting"
- Advanced Control/FAHControl : Configure > Advanced, select "Any" in the list "Cause Preference"
The COVID-19 related projects are on top priority and will be assigned automatically.
I finished some Work Units, but my points aren't showing up--are they lost?
- Your points are safe. As of ~ March 23, the Stats servers are experiencing the same overload as the work servers. the project staff has assured us that points are being tracked correctly even when statistics are failing to upload to the web.
Why is it just sitting not doing anything?
- As of ~March 20, the F@H project server infrastructure is scrambling to keep up with an explosion of support. It's improved a lot in the last week and continues to get better. Just be patient.
Can I contribute using my PlayStation?
- Unfortunately not as of now, but the project team encourages you to bug Sony about this ;-)
These recommendations are for users who want to make a minimum contribution so that Folding@home won't disrupt their computer use, will be easily manageable, and won't incur much electricity cost. Users are welcome to contribute more, but this configuration should suit every level of interest.
Only when idle
This setting assures that Folding@home won't use gaming performance resources while you play Rec Room or other games. However, it also pauses folding while you use your computer for non-gaming uses. If you want to continue earning points for the team during that time, you'll have to swap this setting back.
Sleep after 5 hours
Use Windows's "Power & Sleep" settings to decide how long your computer should continue folding after you stop using it. If you're motivated to earn points, set this to "Never." If you're worried about cash, set it to sleep after 5 hours, and your computer will still contribute to the team for at least a few hours each day. Note: This setting in Windows sometimes doesn't stick; it might be worth double-checking.
Disable CPU folding
In the Advanced Control window, you have the option to Pause any of your processors separately from the others. GPUs are more efficient than CPUs, so if you want to save electricity then it's worth pausing your CPU so that only the GPU will work. Note: You may have to set the general "Power" level setting to Medium or Full to assure that your GPU slot is enabled; setting "Power" to Light disables the GPU.
Use a passkey
Users earn points faster by having a passkey for their name. This is not a registration process, and it doesn't ask for any personal information; it only requires an e-mail address for sending the key. Folding@home gives bonus points for completing WUs ahead of schedule (which is trivial for most users), but to enforce that they need to distinguish between users, which means that a passkey is prerequisite.
The bonus is applied for users who use a passkey, have successfully returned at least 10 bonus-eligible WUs, have successfully returned 80% or more of assigned WUs, and returned the unit before its Timeout (formerly Preferred Deadline). Bonus points do not apply to partial returns.
To get a passkey, open Web Control and click "Change Identity."
There are two tabs on Web Control, which is easy to miss. If you click on your GPU tab you'll see when it works on a COVID-19 project.
As of March 22nd, CPUs generally haven't been assigning work units for COVID-19 projects.
Remote client management
Users can run multiple machines at the same time to earn points for their donor account and team. You can control/monitor other machines from the FAHControl client itself. Note: you need to relaunch the remote client once after configuring.
Other Questions & Answers
What does the Power slider do?
Depending on the slider setting, F@H will lower its CPU usage. On the Light setting, it avoids using the GPU completely. Click here for more details.
For the "Only when idle" setting, how is "Idle" defined?
The short answer for Windows is, your computer is idle after the time you've set your screen to automatically turn off. Here is a longer answer from this page:
The software uses several different methods to determine if the system is idle. In Windows, if there’s no user input on the mouse or keyboard for a while (the exact timing depends on the system’s configuration) the power management settings can turn off the monitor, or Windows can decide that it’s in “away mode”, whichever comes first, and folding while idle starts. In Mac OS X, the system is idle if there’s no user activity for around five minutes. In Linux, the screensaver and a lack of user input are used to determine idleness.
Join the Discord server: https://discord.gg/SXcQJxv
Install Folding@home client: https://foldingathome.org/start-folding/
Rec Room players team stats: https://stats.foldingathome.org/team/245555
Folding@home FAQ page: https://foldingathome.org/support/faq/