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Running Folding@home on Amazon EC2 instances

juliensimon profile image Julien Simon Originally published at Medium on ・2 min read

Folding@home is a long running project focused on disease research using distributed computing, and they recently launched a number of projects related to COVID-19.

This blog post will show you how to use Amazon EC2 GPU instances with Folding@home. This is a great way to help researchers, so please consider donating some GPU time. If you have AWS credits about to expire, why not burn them for a good cause?

Initial setup

First, I fire up an Amazon EC2 P3 instance, which hosts an NVIDIA V100 GPU. I use the NVIDIA Deep Learning AMI 19.11.3 in order to make sure that I have the latest NVIDIA drivers. This should also work on other AMIs, but your mileage may vary.

Then, I simply follow these instructions to manually install the Folding@home client. Here are my exact steps:

wget [https://download.foldingathome.org/releases/public/release/fahclient/debian-testing-64bit/v7.4/fahclient\_7.4.4\_amd64.deb](https://download.foldingathome.org/releases/public/release/fahclient/debian-testing-64bit/v7.4/fahclient_7.4.4_amd64.deb)

wget [https://download.foldingathome.org/releases/public/release/fahcontrol/debian-testing-64bit/v7.4/fahcontrol\_7.4.4-1\_all.deb](https://download.foldingathome.org/releases/public/release/fahcontrol/debian-testing-64bit/v7.4/fahcontrol_7.4.4-1_all.deb)

sudo dpkg -i --force-depends fahclient\_7.4.4\_amd64.deb

sudo dpkg -i --force-depends fahcontrol\_7.4.4-1\_all.deb

Once I’ve completed the wizard setup, the client starts automatically. ‘htop’ confirms that the ‘a7’ Folding@Home core is crunching data.

By default, training is only running on the CPU. Let’s put that GPU to work!

Enabling GPU training

I need to edit /etc/fahclient/config.xml (sudo required):

<config>
 <! — Client Control →
 <fold-anon v=’true’/>

<! — Folding Slot Configuration →
 **<gpu v=’true’/>**

<! — Slot Control →
 <power v=’full’/>

<! — User Information →
 <user v=’JulienS’/>

<! — Folding Slots →
 <slot id=’0' type=’CPU’/>
 **<slot id=’1' type=’GPU’/>**
</config>

Then, I just stop and start the client:

sudo /etc/init.d/FAHClient stop

sudo /etc/init.d/FAHClient start

This fires up a GPU-optimized Folding@home core (core ‘22’).

Pretty soon, nvidia-smi tells me that the GPU is now crunching as well.

Take that, COVID-19. Your days are counted.

Again, please consider donating some GPU time if you can. Thank you.

Discussion (5)

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scriptautomate profile image
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Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

Very interesting. What is the cost calculation on that?

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suboptimal profile image
Frank Dietrich

Maybe the numbers on the page of the mentioned AMI could be used as reference.

aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/NVID...

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rwthompsonii profile image
rwthompsonii

To save everyone else the trip, it's at least $3/hr. Yikes.