Android Abandoned? [No]

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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby Joe_H » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:36 pm

They may reevaluate the use of ARM at some point, just like they do for sources already in use. So for today they are not using ARM/Android, probably will not be using it in a few months time, but a year or more in the future that might change.

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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby bruce » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:45 pm

IF an ARM client is ever pursued again, the Sony software may be an appropriate starting point. I understand that it is now Open software. The unanswered questions include:
1) Who will support this development.
2) How to integrate the Sony leader-board minutes with the points system used by FAH.
3) How to integrate the micro-WUs produced by ARM with the much more complex FAH WUs.
4) What do do about the Quick Return Bonus.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby Darth_Peter_dualxeon » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:26 am

It's weird that people think they can do anything that needs this high performance, on a small smartphone.
Phones are not intended for that. Okay, a current smartphone has probably better performance than a desktop had a decade ago. (I mean, 4-8 core processors, some GB of RAM and a small GPU that drives a small fullHD display)
Probably my phone could do all what I did on my old Pentium 4 desktop, doing all the learning in the university classes back then, and doing some science stuff. (except a decent screen diameter)
But, people have to realize that smartphones are weak in price to performance ratio as well as overall performance. (not to mention, running stuff like that will use up the battery, heat up the whole thing and even the USB3.0 connector or a 2 amper 5 Volt charger won't be enough for much)
Phones are for having them in the pocket as a useful tool (calculator, map, web browser, and of course communication) and not meant to do high performance computing.
The only involvement of my phone in folding is that I use it as a wifi hotspot. :lol:

Even some laptops do not really like 100% cpu load at near 100 Celsius for long time (or, at least I don't want to risk an 1200$ laptop with that). As laptops are mostly meant for doing office stuff and light gaming. And the size of cooling fans is limited.

Properly configured gamer desktops and workstations / servers are the things which tolerate such abuse as 100% load for 24/7, with good power supply and good cooling and better price to performance ratio.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby tssmith2002 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:04 pm


I don't want to restart the debate about whether ARM phones are appropriate or not. I have both phones and single board computers in sufficient quantity and am willing to spend the power and hassle of running them to support FAH in whatever capacity possible IF it were still possible. @Joe_H confirmed above that users who had reported both here and in OpenWRT forum recently that they were running FAH on ARM devices were not getting WU now.

Personally, I think that this would be a good project for Google Summer of Code or lets see, a software developer with an enforced idle time sitting sitting around the house trying to not go stir crazy. :) I think that for some of single board computers that are typically running 24/7 now, I wouldn't worry about micro-WU. I would focus on getting GROMACS and OPENMM and all of the other science apps to run well on ARM and just let it fly.

Thanks for the responses.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby adapt » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:58 pm

I confirm - installed the APK on a few phones - s9, s9+, the screenshot below is from s9+, has been running for >10hrs and I can't see any increased cpu gain and the device is not getting warm. hope it saves people time downloading this, would be cool if this could be updated and made available in google play store

Image Image
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby AncientElevator9 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:27 pm

"I don't want to restart the debate about whether ARM phones are appropriate or not."

To me, the "appropriateness" argument could seemingly be extended -- "No laptops aren't appropriate... you need desktops with dedicated gpus." to which someone else responds, "pfft GPUs... my ASICs will destroy your GPUs any day of the week."

The point is that there is a ton of unused compute that could be harnessed to solve real-world problems.

Millions, if not billions, of people plug their phone in before going to bed. This is when you would get most of the free compute.

I'd love to develop this. We should organize something for the people who would like to get involved.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby bruce » Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:58 pm

It has not been abandoned. The Sony client was not well integrated and it was abandoned.

ARM is still being explored although it's not clear what ... or when ... something might be announced.

I agree that lots of phones seems like a powerful resource. So are other ARM devices (like the Rasberry Pi and more powerful devices). Lots of cell phones are difficult for FAH to use because traditionally, FAH needs powerful hardware to finish assignments very queickly and there isn;'t any pracical way for two cell phones to cooperate on the same assignment in order to speed up its processing.

COVID processing isn't really the same as "traditional" FAH processing, though. MAYBE fah will find a way to use cell phones, but it's a lot more complicated than simply recompiling everything to run on ARM hardware.

Suppose I have a (traditional) project that will take a month of GPU processing and I divide it up into 200 assignments that each take about 8 hours. Adding idle time between when one person finishes their assignment and it gets redistributed to the next person, iI won't get my results in less that 45 days.

Now take the same project and assign it to cell phones which may process the same calculations at maybe 1% to 5% as fast ... and only while the phone is being recharged. I may see my results some time next year.

Yes, not all projects are like that example, but it's something to consider.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby JohnChodera » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:16 am

I can't say anything official, but there may be more good news re ARM coming soon. ;)

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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby MeeLee » Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:42 pm

The PS3 had a 3,1Ghz single core, the unit consumed somewhere between 100W to 170W under normal use, and would be slower than the performance of an Atom N2600 cpu (dual core, 1,6Ghz).

A modern quad core cellphone of between 1,5-2Ghz on all cores is twice as fast, doing the same between 3 to 5 watts.

Performance wise, cellphones with ARM based chips have grown a lot!
In particular those supporting the Big-Little technology based on 2 big and 6 small cores.
Compared to 4/4 core setting, their available computing capabilities are about 50% higher; since Android does not release the big cores for any program to use (only android has access to them for GUI and android tasks, while the actual program data is processed through the little cores).

Not only that, but technologies have improved a lot, ram is faster, power consumption and heat is down....
Early phone batteries would blow up under a 50-100% core load.

My 2 year old Essential Phone PH1 crunched data at 1 Million points for a Boinc project, and did about 9 months over it on the 4 cores.
My new Samsung A71 phone with a slightly slower core frequency, but 2 big and 6 little cores, did 1/3rd of the Essential phone, in just 1 month.
It would be between 50% and 66% faster than a 2017 high end phone for continuous load.

Another good thing is, that the phone doesn't even get hot. And the battery is a 4000Mah, so the whole 3.5W the phone uses to crunch data, is powered by a much larger than usual battery (the essential phone's ~3000mAh battery died after 1 year of normal use, and 9 months of data crunching).
The 4000mAh battery is much more capable of handling a continuous 3Watts, without also the CPU heating it past 40C.

ARM definitely has a future. Though for fast processing (speed), x86 is still unbeatable, even if it was at a higher power consumption cost.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby bikeaddict » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:35 pm

In Big Win for COVID-19 Research, Neocortix Brings Arm Support to Folding@home, Rosetta@home ... settahome/
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby gunnarre » Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:40 pm

Looks like Rosetta@Home already has the new ARM core, but for phone based folding they hosted the new FAH ARM core in the PhonePaycheck app for testing purposes. Making a whole new Android app just for FAH might be too slow work - unless Neocortix also make a custom app for it.

This is extra good news for ARM based Mac laptops too, and with iOS and macOS coming closer to each other, perhaps even folding on iPad and iPhones?
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby MeeLee » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:24 pm

Both World Community Grid and Rosetta have COVID batches already for about half a year now on ARM, though it appears to me that their projects are slowing down on COVID simulations.
If Neocortix will only bring COVID to FAH, without sufficient documentation for scientists to replicate their own projects to ARM, it'll probably be short lived.
I don't think it's the time yet, to do folding on an ARM phone. An ARM TV box, or laptop is much better, as they can have a higher heat dissipation, however, in the next 2 years, going to 7nm and below, phones will do what regular X86/64 CPUs did 2 years ago.
And that gives huge potential (think about how many people will own phones, that will be able to run WUs).

But there's another question I'd have,
Is an ARM CPU more like a GPU, or an X86 CPU?
Can all projects running an X86 CPU, be also ran on an ARM CPU?
I'm asking, because if ARM is like a GPU, not all projects can make use of GPUs.
There still are projects that need CPUs to complete their WUs, as the GPU does certain things really well, but other things it is not very good at.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby Yavanius » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:53 am

The Sony client is shut down just like they shut down for the PS3 some years back too (and effectively shut down all Distributed Computing on it by removing the ability to OFFICIALLY boot off it).

Neocortix has been working with Folding@home on Gromacs (apparently quite outdated) as part of their work toward a new Android client, so that will benefit more than just the Android platform. They announced Android client yesterday, but there's nothing on the website or Google Play (at least publicly) still.

I wasn't gonna mention it as they were still testing it (although the Coronavirus page has been there), but since they did a press release I'm mentioning it...

Also, they did NOT reuse the old Sony Android code. It was deemed obsolete. They had their own technologies which worked well apparently.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby MeeLee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:20 am

If it'll work for Linux on ARM, it should work for Android.
Linux is a better platform to fold off than Android.
The difference between both operating systems is minimal, since Android is based on Linux.
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Re: Android Abandoned?

Postby bruce » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:23 am

FAH is also developing a FAHCore based on an updated version of GROMACS. It will be interesting to see how closely those development efforts will coincide.

The current FAHCore_a7 (GROMACS) has been producing valid results since it was introduced. The last time it was updated, support for AVX was introduced which accelerated the processing on modern CPUs. Support for additional instruction sets can be expected along with support for ARM in the future version.
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