What is Genome@home?
Genome@home is a distributed computing project. The purpose of the Genome project is to design new genes which are capable of producing functional proteins within living cells. These new proteins could be used for anything from medicines to new crops to curing diseases. Unfortunately, designing and testing such genes is essentially a hit-and-miss process, and requires massive amounts of computing power. This is where you and your PC come in. For the majority of the time your PC is on, its processor is doing little to no work. Genome@home installs a small piece of software that sits in the background, and essentially 'eats' unused CPU cycles. When your CPU isnít busy, Genome@home uses it to calculate gene data. Once an entire gene is complete, it is sent back to the projectís database, where it will eventually be checked for usefulness. In essence, your computer is one of thousands working simultaneously to help calculate scientific data.
How do I sign up?
To join the Genome@home project, all you need to do is download and install the client. When you download and install the client, youíll get to pick a user name, and a team to join. To download, visit the Genome project homepage here.
How do I join the Hardware Analysis team?
When you install the client and run it for the first time, it will ask you for a team number. To join the Hardware Analysis team, simply enter our team number in this field. Thatís it! The Hardware Analysis team number is 160172401. If youíve already installed and configured the client, you can reconfigure it and add the team number by running the 'Reconfigure User Info' option from the start menu, or by typing 'ghclient -config' from the command line. The Hardware Analysis team statistics can be found here.
I joined the team, why arenít I showing up on the stats page yet?
You donít necessarily 'join' a team, per se. Itís more accurate to say you 'do work' for the team. As such, you wonít appear on the teamís list of Ďworkersí until youíve actually completed an entire work unit for the team. In other words, once the client is installed and set up with the team number, you must first complete a work unit before youíll appear as being on the team. If you havenít completed an entire unit yet, this is why youíre not showing up. If you have, then itís possible that the database simply hasnít updated yet (it does so every few hours). Wait a few hours, and check again, and your name will likely be on the team roster. If itís not, you may wish to reconfigure the client, to make sure the team number is correct.
Will running Genome@home slow down my computer?
Yes, it will, but very marginally. The Genome@home client uses a very low priority setting, so your operating system will ensure that just about any other application you run will get CPU cycles first. The Genome client will simply consume whatever CPU cycles are not being used by other applications. If youíre using a newer system with at least 128 MB of RAM, it will be almost impossible to tell whether the client is running or not (from a speed perspective). If youíre using an older machine with 64 to 32 MB or less of RAM, youíll likely observe a performance hit when the client is running. Remember, it doesnít have to be on all the time, if all else fails, you can simply turn it off when if you feel itís affecting performance.
Can I run the Genome@home client on my dual processor PC?
Yes. The client currently does not support multithreading, however, so in order to take advantage of both processors, youíll need to install two separate copies of the client, and run them both. Your operating system will automatically load balance between the two CPUs.
The Genome client keeps crashing, what do I do?
Occasionally the client will receive a 'bad' work unit. These work units cause some unpredictable sequence that will cause the client to crash. If you have one of these bad units, youíll notice that the client crashes predictably at a similar spot each time you try to restart it. To get rid of the bad unit, run the 'Clear Bad Work & Restart' option from the Genome@home group in the start menu. Command-line users can type 'ghclient -clear' to achieve the same result.
I donít like the command line client. Is there a GUI version?
No, there is not. However, there are several third-party programs available which can be used to control and monitor the command line client, thus giving the feel of a GUI client. Two popular programs are Electron Microscope, and Genome Voyeur. They can be found here and here, respectively. Please note that these are third party solutions, and as such are not officially supported by Hardware Analysis or Genome@home.
For more information on the Genome@home project, visit the Genome website. The Hardware Analysis team number is 160172401. The Hardware Analysis team stats page can be found here