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Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:50 pm
by valle2000
Modern smartphones have very powerful cpus. I have an Xperia Z1 and during the nights its charging, why not put all those smartphones being charged to some good use? Would it please be possible to make an android client which would run at e.g. 50% capacity and with a “run only when charging” as default option?

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:03 pm
by bruce
Does anybody know if these "very powerful cpus" support floating point operations? If not, they don't meet the requirements for a project like FAH. I don't remember seeing numbers for GFLOPS on tablet CPUs.

Porting FAH to a new platform is a major undertaking and never entered into lightly. The cost of supporting a new platform is compared to whatever benefit might be expected and that has been a significant problem when the question was asked before.

An android or ios app that can monitor the progress of work being done on your PC is within the realm of possibility and might be written by some 3rd party, but it wouldn't be able to complete new work ... plus it potentially risks opening new security issues.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:37 pm
by 7im
From the Main FAH FAQ: Why no client version for IRIX, Solaris, OS-2, AMIGA, Commodore, Macintosh OS9, iPhone, Smart Phone, ARM chip, XBox, Wii, etc.?

We’ve been deluged by requests for other versions. Due to limited resources, we can only support a few client versions. We try to pick operating systems and hardware types which are likely to be popular with donators, that we can suitably support in house, and that will perform well on the scientific calculations. We do support BSD via its Linux emulation layer.

And none of those portable devices support x86 SSE processor optimizations, which is used to process 90% of the fah data, so trying to port fah to those is pointless. Without SSE, the code runs 3x slower, if it will even run at all. Until portables become 10x faster than your basic entry level PC, it's not going to happen.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:40 pm
by EXT64
Yes they do, but it isn't much to get excited about (particularly once you factor in you probably wouldn't want to run at 100% and only while charging):

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:46 pm
by jimerickson
meh, who cpu folds anymore? gpus are the future.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:59 pm
by ChristianVirtual
The GPU of an 4th gen iPad has around 76 GFLOPS
The GPU of an 5th gen iPad Airhas around 115 GFLOPS ... r-review/4

The GTX 780 in comparison rough 4000 GFLOPS ... x-780.html

The little guys are not too bad but the effort to sync 40 iPads to get a similar GFLOPS as one GTX might put too much stress in the backend. Sure there are much more iPad and Androids out there but still get them working together will be difficult; also with the need to have sequential result from folding runs.
And not sure if the GPUs in mobile have the same flexibility to get programmed the way needed.

That said: I would love to see my iPads contributing; don't see it happen though.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:01 am
by 7im
GFLOPS is not SSE processing. Somewhat like how video gaming is not like Folding.

FLOPS FAQ: Are FLOPS consistent between different types of architectures?


Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:23 pm
by valle2000
If it could be done it would be awesome, because there are millions (billions?) of smartphones being charged 6-8 hours each night which could do something useful as well.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:58 pm
by AZBrandon
Those peak performance numbers for phones/tablets are not sustainable either. It's been well documented that pretty much all mobile platforms are only able to run at full speed for anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple minutes before they must thermally throttle, if even by a little bit. Furthermore, high temperatures are bad for battery life, and especially bad for charging. Charging a battery while it's at a high temperature will shorten the life of that battery. The notion of doing folding whenever the battery is charging is basically a recipe for reducing the life of the device when you consider the trend is towards integrated batteries that cannot be user-replaced once the battery is toast.

Bottom line is that we're marching towards a world where every form factor is going to use an architecture that produces the maximum performance for a given power/thermal profile. Those profiles tend to be:

Desktop GPU: 250W
Desktop CPU: 100W
Laptop: 35W
Tablet: 10W
Phone: 2-5W

A standalone GPU is almost certain to always have a performance advantage no matter where semiconductor technology goes in the next decade because we give the highest power budget to desktop GPUs.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:40 pm
by VijayPande
We are investigating performance of phones for FAH. It's too early to say anything, but we are always interested in staying ahead of the curve and moving into areas where it will help the project the most.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:27 am
by 3D_Now!!
If you are eager to get your phone doing science, BOINC has already done the groundwork..... ... c&hl=en_GB

The most closely related project available is World Community Grid

They are also looking at getting the mobile GPU to work too.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:26 am
by Jim Saunders
I don't mean to touch a nerve here, but what about current game consoles? The answer to that question may lie in the reasons for the demise of LWP, but I don't have that answer. A PM is fine if that is more appropriate than an answer here.


Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:02 am
by 7im
Forum search "ps4". MS and Sony show no interest. Post questions on their forums. ;)

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:14 am
by bruce
The game consoles do contain hardware that is powerful enough to be scientifically useful so a game console client is technically POSSIBLE with the co-sponsorship of Microsoft/Sony/etc.. We have no way of knowing whether they will agree to cooperate or not. If something like that is ever actually developed, it would probably be announced only when development was completed.

That has very little to do with the original topic: a FAH client for Android (or any tablet/phone, for that matter). Any CPU designed for a long battery life is going to produce almost zero value when measured in terms of scientific output. I don't know how the BOINC client awards points, but if a FAH client for Android earned 20 Points Per Day, would you even bother to run it? ... and how would that square with other donors who are earning upwards from 20,000 PPD per system.

Re: Folding on Android

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:27 am
by Jesse_V
Exactly. Even if it could run, I don't think it'd be worth it. In order to maximize productivity you'd have to plug it in all the time in order to avoid draining the battery. This would defeat the purpose of having a mobile device. If I had to choose something for my Android device to run when stationary, I'm confident that it could handle something less intensive, like hosting a Tor relay through the Orbot app.