Folding@Home with the Atheists April 17, 2008

Folding@Home with the Atheists

A reader named Mike passed along the message below.

I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of this project before, but for those of you with access to a working computer (which I *think* is most of you…), you could help a great cause and support a team of atheists at the same time!

You might have heard of Stanford’s Folding@Home distributed computing project. It’s a massive network of computers running software that simulates the folding of proteins. Anyone can download the client to their computer, where it will sit in the background and use the extra cycles that would otherwise be wasted to help cure diseases. It won’t slow down your computer because it always runs with least priority, so it’s basically a donation that costs you nothing.

In addition to helping out humanity, users can join teams and compete against each other. Right now the highest ranking non-theist group, The Godless Ones, is on track to be overtaken by the highest-ranking Christian group, Nerds for Jesus. The deadline for our defeat keeps fluctuating between three and four weeks, but according to the Nerds for Jesus forum, their biggest contributor, Jesta, is about to add another computer lab full of computers to their team (he has access to a few of these labs, apparently). My team members and I have been petitioning forums and chat rooms, but so far have only managed to get about ten new folders, which has only slightly delayed our defeat.

We’d really appreciate it if you could direct some of your readers our way. Petty competition aside, it’s still a great way to help folks out without really doing anything. All anyone has to do is download, install, and run the client, enter team 34395, and use their computer like they always do. If they download the graphical version, it won’t run quite as fast, but they can use the simulation as a screensaver. If anyone owns a PS3, the software comes pre-installed, so all they need to do is enter our team number. If they really want to help, they can download the SMP beta client, but that’s only practical if they have a fairly new computer that’s left on most of the time. If you need any information, feel free to email me at, see the FAQ, or visit any of the forum posts above.

Thanks a lot

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Well, I just jumped in. Only one usable box at the moment, but it’s better than nothing…

  • Erik

    I run Folding @ Home on my PS3 almost every day. It’s simple and it makes a difference. I used to run it on my PC, but the PS3 is a lot faster.

    Folding @ Home on the PS3

  • Herb

    If you download BOINC from you can split your spare CPU time among several cool projects.

  • Anticontrame

    Awesome! Thanks Hermant.

  • Zachary B.

    For some reason it freezes on my Mac. 🙁

    Ahh well I have it running in the background but cannot start the client… so I am still contributing just can’t watch it calculate.

  • The Linux version is a pretty nice command line app that I’ve got running in a screen session. I’ve got it running on my laptop on startup so it should make good use of my processors 😀

  • Miko

    it’s basically a donation that costs you nothing

    That’s not quite true: the energy used running this vs. letting the computer enter sleep mode will come to about 4 or 5 cents per hour. There’s also an environmental concern, although I’m sure that most people would agree that this particular project is worth the (close to negligible) costs.

  • I used to use F@H but have shifted to BOINC’s Rosetta@Home project. Maybe I can re-install F@H one of these days.

  • Will do tonight!

    (though me thinks this needs a Pharyngulanche)

  • Pat Swanson

    Count me in. I’ve got a laptop and a home PC added to the cause.

  • Anticontrame

    Thanks everybody! We’ve had a lot of new users climbing up the charts, and we’re on track to outpacing the Nerds!

    “me thinks this needs a Pharyngulanche”
    I agree! I emailed PZ a few days ago to no avail. Feel free to pester him. 😀

  • Scorpious

    Like HeathenDan, I used to have F@H on my computer, but then I was forced to upgrade to Vista, and it didn’t work after that. I finally got on BOINC and am having fun with Rosetta, SETI &

    Maybe once it updates to work with Vista, which I’m sure will be about the time Micro$oft releases their next OS.

  • Anticontrame

    In what way didn’t it work? There’s a discussion of a problem with the graphical version in the last link of the post. The program must have the ‘XP compatibility mode’ option enabled for the screensaver to work.

  • Scorpious

    Like I said, I was forced to upgrade to Microsoft Vista last October. It wasn’t long after that it decided to stop working altogether. I could get the program loaded, but it didn’t indicate it was doing anything based on the CPU Meter that comes with Vista.

    After a few months of it sitting quiet, I was inspired to switch back to SETI and BOINC.

  • valhar2000

    I used to use BOINC, but I had to give it up because it interfered with my activities. I was going to use the version of F@H that uses the GPU, figuring that it would not take too much CPU time and that it was equivalent to 10~20 CPUs anyway, but I could not get it to work. Oh Well!

    I may give it another shot soon, but I am not sanguine.

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