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Folding@Home is a program developed by Stanford University that uses a system's CPU to simulate the process of "folding" a protein in the human body. This information is then used to better understand how the body folds proteins and how the improper folding of proteins causes severe diseases in the body, including cancer. More information can be found on the Folding@Home website. The results and benchmarks of this breakthrough research can be found among the papers. This program does not take up a large amount of space and only requires a simple start command in a terminal on boot. Help save lives! Make a difference!

Download & Installation

The first step in making Folding@Home run on your system is to download and install the folding client. This client only needs a terminal window to run, and can be minimized or moved to another workstation on your desktop when running. Now that we know what Folding@Home is, let's download and install the program.

On the download page, there will be a section for the Linux version of the client, with Tux the Penguin next to the package information. Click Tux to begin the download of the package. Note that the uniprocessor and SMP multi-core versions are combined in a single package, but the SMP version requires a 64bit processor to be enabled. Download the package to a known location. Once you have downloaded the package, open a terminal window, and use the cd command to move yourself into the directory that you downloaded Folding@Home into. Once there, it is time to extract the package. To do this, issue the following command in the terminal window...

tar -xzvf FAH6.02-Linux.tgz 

Please note that the name of the package (in italics) may not match the name of your package. If that is the case, replace the name of the package above with the name of your package. Now, to keep everything organized, we are going to create a folder in the /home directory to move the files into. To do this, issue the following set of commands (each line representing a new command)...

mkdir Folding@Home

This will create a folding called Folding@Home in the /home/username directory. Now that there is a directory to put the files into, we have to move them into that directory. Using the cd command, place yourself back into the directory where you downloaded the files. Now that you are in this directory, issue the following commands (again, each line representing a new command)...

mv mpiexec ~/Folding@Home
mv fah6 ~/Folding@Home

Now it is time to install the client using the following commands...

cd ~/Folding@Home

This will initialize the installer. The first prompt will ask you for a username. If you have already used Folding@Home on Windows, or another Linux system, enter your username. If you are new to Folding@Home, simply enter a new username that you would like to have. This will be the name that your work and "folds" are tagged to (which will be discussed further down on this page). The next prompt will ask for a team number: again, if you have already used Folding@Home and joined a team, enter their team number (a list of teams can be found on the Folding@Home Team Page). If you do not belong to a team, simple press the enter key on your keyboard to enter the default value of 0 (or join the openSUSE Users team: 35676). The subsequent prompts can be answered in the same manner: pressing the enter key to issue the default command. Once you have answered the questions asked, Folding@Home will be installed on your system and you are ready to start folding!

Running Folding@Home

To start running the folding client, open a terminal window and issue the command below. Folding@Home does not start automatically when OpenSUSE is booted: it must be started manually. This terminal window must remain open while Folding@Home is running. If the window is closed, then Folding@Home will also close. This window can be minimized to the system tray or moved to another workstation on the desktop for convenience.

cd ~/Folding@Home; ./fah6

If you have installed Folding@Home into another directory, replace ~/Folding@Home with the name of this directory. The first section of the command above is used to place the user in the directory on the folding client. If this directory is not called Folding@Home and is in the /home/username directory, then the first part of the command must be replaced with the correct information.

Work Statistics

Folding@Home logs the work units submitted by each user, and the total number of processors used to fold in the last 7 days, and the last 50 days. This information can be accessed on the Folding@Home website. The links for the donor statistics and the team statistics can be found below. Each user if also given a certificate for their work, which can be found on you donor statistics page.

Quitting the Folding Client

Stopping Folding@Home is very simple: either exit the terminal window that Folding@Home is running in, or press Ctrl+C on your keyboard. Both methods will quit the folding client without letting the current work complete, though. When Folding@Home is started again, it will continue with the last work completed.