Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

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Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Alan C. Lawhon » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:13 am

In conjunction with an idea for printing and distributing FAH business cards, (see the “FAH Business Cards – We Can Do This!” thread), I’ve been giving serious thought to metaphors and analogies we might use in explaining to people (in simple-to-understand language) what protein folding is, what Stanford’s FAH project is about, and, (most important of all), what they can do to help. (This is an invitation for some “creative thinking” from all of you folks!)

I had lunch today with my old college professor during which I took the opportunity to recruit him (and his wife) into our FAH donor community. That went fairly well, so, (thusly emboldened), I attempted to recruit a lady I met this afternoon at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I started off with my (now standard) “How would you like to become a medical researcher?” line. This got her attention. After a few preliminaries, I drew an analogy between creating and running a simulation of a large protein molecule with trying to put together a 100,000,000 piece jigsaw picture puzzle. I mentioned that not even a supercomputer can run a simulation with 100 million (or a billion) separate work units within a reasonable time. So, to overcome this problem, the folks at Stanford split this “puzzle” up and parcel it out among thousands and thousands of volunteers (and their computers) all over the world. By breaking a complex simulation up into a lot of smaller work units, they’re able to create a simulation of a complex protein molecule in a few days or weeks - as opposed to several months or a year.

This made sense to her, so she agreed to allow me to write down the FAH web site address on a napkin which she put in her purse. She indicated to me that she would check out the FAH web site. (I also mentioned that there are articles on Wikipedia about protein folding and Folding@Home – to which she responded “Good!”) So it looks like two five minute conversations today may have gotten us two more donor participants who will join the FAH community and start crunching work units. That leaves us a mere 99,998 donors short of the number Dr. Pande says he needs to reach the 100 peta-FLOP threshold. As the late Chairman Mao said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” so we are two steps closer to having 100,000 new donors. (I think it was Chairman Mao who said that … I’m not sure.)

We need catchy (easy-to-understand) analogies and metaphors to help explain what FAH is about and to get people interested – or at least interested enough to visit the web site. A business card will help, (since you won’t have to waste time writing down the URL on a napkin or a piece of paper), but memorable and unique words and phrases will also help. Analogies that are easily understood will do the trick. (The stuff on the home page is great, but we’ve got to get folks to the home page first!)

This is a very creative community. Now is the time to scratch your heads and help me out! If you have a good idea or a good concise way of explaining FAH, there’s no time like the present. Roll the carpet out, light the candle and come up with some really neat ways of explaining what the FAH project is, what Dr. Pande and his scientists are trying to accomplish, the diseases they are fighting, and how prospective new donors can help. Let’s think about ways of getting that number down from 99,998 all the way down to zero or one. :)
Last edited by Alan C. Lawhon on Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby uncle fuzzy » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:35 am

I tell people I crunch numbers for science. That almost always results in a "What?", so I expand with a few more details. I still keep it simple, but I tell them about Stanford, Pande Group, basic folding concept, breaking simulations into little pieces, how we crunch the numbers, how they put them back together, and the papers that come out of it.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby art_l_j_PlanetAMD64 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:50 am

Great ideas being presented here, there are many ways of promoting FAH, all good ones.

What I have found to be most effective, is to use a method that has worked well for TV shows for decades ("the teaser"), to quickly grab their interest. Then I can get into some details about FAH and how to join the project after they ask for some more information.

After getting to the subject of FAH in conversation (and now also using Alan's idea of a business card), "The teaser" is to say something like:
I use my computers to help Stanford University study the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers. I am not a molecular biologist, but as I understand it, the idea is that by studying 'protein misfolding', the scientists and doctors can design drugs and therapies to combat those illnesses. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can help the FAH project, just like I am doing, by going to the FAH website http://folding.stanford.edu/English/HomePage, and downloading and installing the FAH software.

[For me, by explaining the goals first, it helps to avoid the "eyes glazed" reaction that occurs if the first things out of my mouth are "protein folding" and "distributed supercomputer".]

Only then do I try to explain (if asked) what my understanding of "protein folding and misfolding" is. I also explain that I am paraphrasing, and that to get the "expert's explanation" of what "protein folding and misfolding" is, and how studying it can help to design drugs and therapies, they should go to websites such as:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding@home
and:
http://folding.stanford.edu/English/FAQ-Diseases

Of course, this is not "the only way" to do this, but it has worked well for me.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Napoleon » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:02 am

Maybe you could compare FAH to the math related to strength of materials? I assume it's pretty obvious to everybody that applying math to estimate how much load a bridge can take is a whole lot smarter, faster and more economical than just building a bridge, dragging increasingly heavy loads across it until it collapses, then rebuilding it and placing a traffic sign which says that this bridge can take x tons of load, maximum. Real test is actually crossing the bridge, of course, but you'd better have some idea about what will work and what definitely won't work before you start building.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby mmonnin » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:38 pm

Oh do I have some video's for you! Check out these video's I still have from Team #93. They are old and some of the content dates the videos but the flash exe one still pretty much applies. Also that one crashes on me in Win7. XP plays it fine tho. Team PCPer made a very touching video on why we fold as well, but I can't find it. I just made the mediafire account so hopefully it works.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nz3drlt61sgdo

Team 93 also made nice business cards and Tshirts. I still have the T but not the cards. One person mentioned handing them out to people walking by and then seeing them throw them in the trash so they have to be used in a more constructive way. Probably better for after the chat in B&N.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Jesse_V » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:33 am

mmonnin wrote:Oh do I have some video's for you! Check out these video's I still have from Team #93. They are old and some of the content dates the videos but the flash exe one still pretty much applies. Also that one crashes on me in Win7. XP plays it fine tho. Team PCPer made a very touching video on why we fold as well, but I can't find it. I just made the mediafire account so hopefully it works.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nz3drlt61sgdo

Team 93 also made nice business cards and Tshirts. I still have the T but not the cards. One person mentioned handing them out to people walking by and then seeing them throw them in the trash so they have to be used in a more constructive way. Probably better for after the chat in B&N.

The Team 93 video is also here: http://icrontic.com/files/team93/videos/foldflash2.html and you don't have to download it.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Alan C. Lawhon » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:35 am

Jesse_V wrote:
mmonnin wrote:Oh do I have some video's for you! Check out these video's I still have from Team #93. They are old and some of the content dates the videos but the flash exe one still pretty much applies. Also that one crashes on me in Win7. XP plays it fine tho. Team PCPer made a very touching video on why we fold as well, but I can't find it. I just made the mediafire account so hopefully it works.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nz3drlt61sgdo

Team 93 also made nice business cards and Tshirts. I still have the T but not the cards. One person mentioned handing them out to people walking by and then seeing them throw them in the trash so they have to be used in a more constructive way. Probably better for after the chat in B&N.

The Team 93 video is also here: http://icrontic.com/files/team93/videos/foldflash2.html and you don't have to download it.


Jesse_V:

OK, this rips it! The link to the icrontic.com team93 flash video is going on the FAH business card that I'm in the process of designing. That video is pure creativity. A slick color business card with Stanford's FAH logo, the web site URL, a very brief amount of just the right wording, and the link to this flash video should do the trick. (I've already posted the link to the icrontic "team 93" flash video on a message board I frequent. Hopefully it will spread from there ...) I can't help but believe that anybody who watches the team 93 video is going to become a folder ... That is one great piece of work.

There's great brainstorming going on here. If Vijay needs another 100,000 CPUs, I think he's going to get another 100,000 CPUs!
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby mmonnin » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:31 am

Ah yeah thats the same one. If I remember correctly, Lincoln over at Icrontic made the video years ago.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby stevedking » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:15 pm

The video implies that FAH will run in the backgorund and that you will not notice any changes, that is a lie. My surfing is much slower, my upload and download times have increased, accessing web sites is much slower, and the (Not Responding) notification is appearing more frequently. So... I'd say the the architects of FAH need to do some "tweaking" of their application.

:|
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Napoleon » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:25 pm

Folding with GPU, by any chance? GPU folding is known to be invasive, and there's only so much that can be done about it within the constraints of existing GPGPU platforms. CPU/SMP folding does a good job getting out of the way. Or rather, the OS does a good job suspending low priority tasks like folding whenever there are more urgent things to do.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby k1wi » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:51 pm

I normally have to turn off folding when skyping on my CPU only computers, otherwise the picture quality is too poor.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby mmonnin » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:34 pm

Maybe you 2 haven't read my post. The video was made YEARS ago. Well before GPU folding. As mentioned elsewhere, mass recruiting should be gone for the CPU client, not the GPU.

As for upload/download being slow all the time....thats just bull. Only when a WU completes is it ever using the internet. Troll elsewhere.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby Grandpa_01 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:48 pm

mmonnin wrote:Maybe you 2 haven't read my post. The video was made YEARS ago. Well before GPU folding. As mentioned elsewhere, mass recruiting should be gone for the CPU client, not the GPU.

As for upload/download being slow all the time....thats just bull. Only when a WU completes is it ever using the internet. Troll elsewhere.


Nice that will get a few more donors, that is one thing that is not needed on this website, GPU folding can slow things down and make things unresponsive it is a known problem and one of the symptoms includes making it seem like the Internet has problems. Part of the reason for core 2.25 was to help alleviate that problem. Perhaps you should find out what the problem is before calling a person a troll. Is he GPU folding is he running multiple GPU's what are his set up specks etc.etc. etc.

A response like the one you gave on this website will not attract new donors rather it will most likely make them go away. :wink:
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby mmonnin » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:30 pm

New donor's don't really visit this site. And saying the internet speed is affected when FAH uses none means they don't know what the real cause of the lag.

I hardly see it any different than stopping FAH on your own computers because it's no longer the best PPD/W machine based on BETA WUs.
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Re: Catchy New Ways To Describe FAH to Potential New Donors

Postby k1wi » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:01 pm

I made the specific point to note that skype has poorer quality on a CPU only machine when it is folding. No GPU folding on that one because its an i5 with only the integrated GPU. I'm pretty confident it's not due FAH hogging the bandwidth as it's all the time I'm skyping (and not just when a work unit completes) and it's connected to a 100mbit WAN connection... But never the less, picture quality improves/degrades severely with the toggling of the folding client. It's not something I toggled once and said 'that must be it!'. In I tend to want to get the most out of the client so I leave it folding into the conversation but within about 15s notice the poorer than usual quality and stop the client = quality improved.

That said, the client has always had a history of using all available bandwidth when it does connect, to the point where a lot of people have asked about QOS solutions on the router. Less of a problem in the post-BA8 world, but I can often tell you when a WU is being uploaded based on the network/browsing responsiveness on machines connected to the same ADSL connection.

As to new doners visiting the site - I'm always surprised at the steady flow of people who's first comment is ~'I started folding a couple of hours ago', so a number not affiliated with other groups must know how to get here.
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