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How to run multiple PCs at a school

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:11 pm
by smmm
Hello,

A couple of friends and I want to start a folding club/team at our school, and get a couple cheap craigslist PCs to throw in a classroom and run F@h. Any ideas on ways to run the PCs when we can't attend to them most of the time? Another factor is that the power to the school may shut off every night (not 100% sure on this but might as well include it in case it does). We first thought to set the PCs to never sleep and just run them 24/7 and check in on them when we can, but the power shut off gets in the way of that idea.

Maybe there is a program or something that schedules PC shut off and wake up so the PCs can safely turn themselves off at night and on in the morning and auto launch F@h, or like a remote server kind of thing?

The PCs will be running Windows 10.

Thanks, any input is appreciated!

Re: How to run multiple PCs at a school

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:11 am
by JimboPalmer
Welcome to Folding@Home!

if you keep the PCs at school, get written permission from at least a Principal, and ideally the Superintendent, to use electricity. You don't want to be accused of stealing power. You will want an inventory of what is, and is not, school owned property.

I had 55 PCs of my employer folding, I had written permission from an Executive Director to cover my job. I have since retired, some are still folding after 4 years.

I would keep the PCs at home and either all use the same User ID and Passkey or all join the same team. That simplifies management of power issues, and you don't need permission, except parents.

For CPU folding, you want a CPU that can do AVX, they are about twice as powerful as SSE2. (I fold with older CPUs but only because I already own them)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_ ... s_with_AVX

For GPU cards, you need OpenCL 1.2 and 64 bit Floating Point math, this database shows that. (In that database, you want at least 384 'cores' so you complete before deadlines)

https://www.techpowerup.com/gpu-specs/

Old 'bitcoin' cards with no video output are really cheap. As an example:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ZOTAC-P106-90- ... 4224522436

This is not an endorsement, just what to look for. (For gaming, you want lots of RAM, for texture mapping, F@H rarely uses even 1 gig of RAM, 2 gig would be plenty)

Re: How to run multiple PCs at a school

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:05 am
by MeeLee
There's no easy way to install everything on all.
You'll manually need to install each FAH program on each computer.
With SSH you can, from a master computer, run a script, and send that to each ssh server (each client), either manually, or set fah to start and stop in windows task scheduler.
I prefer ssh, as it allows access to other features of the pc, like temperature sensors, GPU sensors (fan/temp, power usage,...).

I believe there are options within fah to connect to another machine as well.

Re: How to run multiple PCs at a school

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:06 am
by ajm
For the monitoring, as you are using Win 10, I would recommend the Microsoft Remote Desktop App: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/micro ... verviewtab

A view of mine:
Image

The fact that you can see the screens indicates that the machines are working and that the connections are OK. You can click on them to expand a complete window and control them entirely, also all together if you have the screen real estate.

Now, if you also have to be able to boot them up remotely, the remote PCs need a Wake-on-LAN system, and it can become intricate depending on the hardware. A couple links:
https://www.howtogeek.com/192642/how-to ... -internet/
https://www.raymond.cc/blog/how-to-remo ... n-and-wan/

Re: How to run multiple PCs at a school

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:46 am
by smmm
Great, thank you all for your helpful information! I apologize for the late reply, I've been sidetracked on other things this last month and now am able to refocus on folding. I'll contact people at my school soon and see what I can make happen!