Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

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Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Christopher_Ambrey » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:54 pm

Hi there,
I am considering whether or not I could use a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with Folding@Home. Raspbian is the official operating system (it's Debian-based). I was curious, can I install the Linux Folding@Home client on a Raspberry Pi 3? Has anyone else tried this before?
Kindest regards,
Chris
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby bruce » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:41 am

Msybe.

The official answer is "it's not a supported OS" but that doesn't guarantee that you can't figure out the necessary modifications if you're resourceful. (AND I predict it will be a challenge.)

The first critical question is which GPU drivers are .. or can be .. installed. Many linux distributions are supplied with drivers capable of driving video on a number of different GPUs but often those drivers do no support the features necessary to run FAH on nVidia or ATI/AMD GPUs -- and finding and installing those proprietary drivers may be a challenge. If you plan to fold only with your CPU, the question is simpler -- mut not necessarily solved. If your CPU supports either the x86 or amd64 instruction sets along with SSE2, you'll probably be able to do that.

Please report what you find. The question has been asked before and I don't remember anybody reporting their findings ... (so I'd guess the answer may be "NO").

You can search this forum for Raspberry Pi and maybe find more information.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Theodore » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:37 am

There don't seem to be any direct driver support for FAH and the Raspberry Pi's internal graphics chip.

Folding on a raspberry Pi CPU (4x 1,2Ghz) is slower than the minimum '1,4Ghz single core x86 CPU' required.
You'd probably run out of time,before finishing the WU.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Joe_H » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:10 pm

I doubt if anyone can get a Raspberry Pi to do Folding@home. Its processor is an ARM chip, not x86 or amd64. Possibly at some future time if the Android client Sony discontinued working on gets revamped by F@h and a Pi can be set up running Android, then it may be usable.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Christopher_Ambrey » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:49 am

Hi guys,

Thanks for your thorough replies. I have to admit it is probably beyond my own expertise to get it working, if it is possible. I have heard of people installing the Android operating system on a Raspberry Pi and running tasks for some of the projects within the World Community Grid project on the BOINC platform. It wasn't without its own challenges though too. I will investigate the possibility of installing an Android operating system on a Raspberry Pi and see what I discover. I have an inkling that I might just use the Raspberry Pi tasks from SETI@Home and Einstein@Home on the BOINC platform. It's possible to contribute to these projects with a Raspberry Pi. It would be good to be able to use the Raspberry Pi for Folding@Home. The work units would probably have to be of a smaller size otherwise, yep, you would probably run out of time before it was finished. I have 'aspirations' to get another video card, a GeForce RTX 2080Ti. That would certainly make a much bigger difference. I'm still waiting on my Raspberry Pis to physically arrive. But I will report back about the Android operating system on Raspberry Pi.

Chris
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby toTOW » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:44 pm

A RPi (and more generally, ARM CPUs) is just not powerful enough to be worth the effort to support it on FAH ...
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Christopher_Ambrey » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:23 am

Hi everyone,

I've had a quick look around and installing Android on a Raspberry Pi seems quite feasible. This is especially true in more recent times.

Android OS
There are some images around for the Android OS. I'm not sure if I'm technically allowed to provide these links but here it is (see https://raspis.eu/pub/downloads/android-x86/exton/). This link I found on the Raspberry Pi forum, it is the free to download and install but is available at a price here http://raspex.exton.se/. The ISO for the "RaspAnd Oreo 8.1 for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Model B+ - Build 180717 - with Google Play Store, Aptoide TV and TeamViewer" (see https://raspis.eu/pub/downloads/android-x86/exton/RaspAnd-ARMv7-Raspberry-Pi-8.1.0-b180717/) seems to be the most relevant and recent. It includes the Google Play Store.

There is a walk-through on how to install the Android OS on a Raspberry Pi 3 written up here https://www.wirelesshack.org/how-to-install-the-android-operating-system-to-a-raspberry-pi-3.html and the associated YouTube video is available here https://youtu.be/_12Qq0ySDC4. Note: KonstaKANG referred to in this walk-through also offers Android 8.1.0 for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (see https://konstakang.com/devices/rpi3/). You'll need to extract an image file and write it to a Micro SD card and then load the Raspberry Pi with this Micro SD card. The free Win32DiskImager software used in the walk-through is available here https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/.

Folding@Home Android Package File (APK)
I haven't been able to find the Folding@Home app in the Google Play Store. I saw a post on the Folding@Home forum in January 2018 indicating that the app is off the market until further notice. It sounds like you're all more familiar with what's happened with the Sony/Google app in recent times than I am. I'm still running the app on my Android phone and have been doing so for approximately two years now. However, there is an APK available for Folding@Home. I have downloaded the most recent APK (see https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/sony-mobile-communications/foldinghome/). Then it is just a matter of installing the Folding@Home APK (see an example of how to do this here https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-install-apps-outside-of-google-play/).

Folding... finally...
Now you should be able to run the Android app for Folding@Home (I'm still waiting my Raspberry Pis to arrive so have yet to implement this myself). This may also be helpful for people to know who like me weren't able to find the Folding@Home app in the Google Play Store. It doesn't seem to be possible to marry up your contributions through the Folding@Home app on Android with the work units completed through other places (e.g. from your client on your everyday computer). Still, it's another way of contributing.

As an aside, it is also worth noting that by using the Android OS you could still expand the potential projects that you could support using the Raspberry Pi under the BOINC platform where the Android OS is supported (e.g. World Community Grid and Rosetta@Home, among others). As mentioned in an earlier post its possible to contribute to some of the projects under the BOINC platform using the Raspbian (Debian-based) operation system. Hope you find this helpful.

Chris
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby bruce » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:39 pm

The Android OS is a small part of the issue. The analysis packages (FahCore_a4 / FAHCore_a7 / FAHCore_b0) that are invoked after a WU is downloaded. Each of these has been optimized based on the hardware it's run on. For example, the a7 core has a version that is optimized for the AMD64 instruction set with SSE2 and now has also been optimized for the AVX instructions. Without optimizations like that, each WU would literally take months to process and deadlines are on the order of a week or so. What I do not know is how Sony handled that issue.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Frisa » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:48 am

ARM has its own SIMD instruction called NEON, it should comparable with SSE2 as both are 128 bit width
I think its a good thing to consider ARM support now, the rumor of MAC migration to arm are high, even intel officials admit this possibility
the latest version of gromacs supports ARM, but i dont know whether the version used by FAH supports or not
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Theodore » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:57 pm

It would be interesting to see if it would work or not.
Not sure if FAH still supports the older Sony client, or if there still are WUs available for that core.

Even if, aside from trying to see if it would work,
I wouldn't recommend trying to achieve any kind of folding record on a Raspberry pi, simply because it's highly inefficient compared to folding on a GPU or even a modern CPU.

It would take months, if not an entire year(or maybe even more), just to show up on the Folding at home website ranking stats (you need about 100k points or more, before you're assigned a rank).
On a much more optimized Corei5 2Ghz, it takes 2 full weeks of folding, or a dual core Pentium D 3Ghz takes 1 month of folding, to get a assigned a rank.

But the idea of the lowest cost, highest efficiency folding machine is a great topic for another discussion.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby Frisa » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:46 pm

yeah RPI3 itself are very slow, in fact its even much slower than Core 2 E8600
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RPI3's cpu roughly on par with Pentium 4 at same clock, so basically you got 4x Pentium 4 1.4GHZ
the point for ARM support as i mentioned, is for future ARM based mac
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby MeeLee » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:40 am

Support for ARM chips will probably not happen, until they start making larger processors (for desktops and servers).
Their chips are very efficient, but will need at least a good 16-32 cores the least, to compete with intel. In which case they'll be more like GPU cores than CPU cores.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby katakaio » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:16 pm

bruce wrote:The first critical question is which GPU drivers are .. or can be .. installed. Many linux distributions are supplied with drivers capable of driving video on a number of different GPUs but often those drivers do no support the features necessary to run FAH on nVidia or ATI/AMD GPUs -- and finding and installing those proprietary drivers may be a challenge.

To my knowledge, the only GPU driver available for the RPi 3 running an Ubuntu-based OS is xserver-xorg-video-fbturbo, which is available in an unofficial PPA (ppa:ubuntu-raspi2/ppa). Apparently it only provides hardware acceleration for window moving and scrolling, so I'm doubtful that even this driver would make the RPi 3's GPU viable for FAH.

There is a relatively recent Hackaday article documenting someone that has managed to run OpenCL on the RPi 3 B+'s GPU (see https://hackaday.com/2019/01/24/running ... ry-pi-gpu/). However, the author's estimate of 24 GFLOPS is probably not going to be enough for FAH GPU projects.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby bruce » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:37 pm

katakaio wrote:... the author's estimate of 24 GFLOPS is probably not going to be enough for FAH GPU projects.


Right. The GPUs that FAH support generally run from 1000 GFLOPS to 12000. There are a few around 150 to 500 but the people who have them are not particularly happy with them and quickly replace them with a cheap card that runs a lot faster or leave FAH.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Folding@Home

Postby MeeLee » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:19 am

It would be interesting to see what the oldest graphics card is supported by FAH.
Probably the oldest one running on Nvidia Geforce drivers, or AMD Radeon drivers.
A friend of mine coined the thought of running FAH on his 8 year old Radeon. He has only 1GB of VRAM, and I told him it would probably work; perhaps gets about 20-30k PPD on it.
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