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the points

Some of you may have noticed that I participate in a Stanford University project called [email protected]. I donate my unused CPU power for this cause which help innovate treatments and cures to diseases related to proteins. I believe in its cause and have been involved with [email protected] for years.

Recently, I upgraded one of my systems with an Athlon X2 3600+ processor that I managed to overclock a little over the speed equivalent to that of the Athlon X2 5200+. I was hoping to hit the 3GHz mark, but the system would not stable out.

Anyway, this rebuilt machine recently finished its first work unit. The [email protected] project sends out work units that can take anywhere from hours to days. The program its running is a beta test that utilizes it’s multi-core architecture. For those less tech-savvy, an Athlon X2 is a dual-core processor which means it has two cores on one processor versus one core like on an Athlon XP, Athlon 64 or even a Pentium 4.

The work unit took about two days to complete. With the two machines I had folding for the past few months, I was averaging around 1800 points a week. This is the fun part of donating CPU power to this project. Work units are worth points with some worth more than others. The work units are distributed based on what projects are being worked on at the time of the assignment. Donators join teams, and everyone competes with each other by finishing work units and earning points for their teams.

Back to the 1800 points: This was about how many points I was averaging on two machines with Athlon XP processors running at 2.08GHz each. The glory with this new machine is that it completed its first unit in a mere two days earned me about 1700 points with an overclocked Athlon X2 3600+ running at 2.755GHz. On top of that, it runs on 65 watts versus the ~68 watts each it takes the two machines to earn me the same amount of points in a week.

I enjoy the fact that leaving my computer on when I’m not using it is still doing something for a cause. Recently, the [email protected] project finished a version of the folding program that can be run on the Playstation 3. PS3s use the Cell processor which is ultra-fast.

The day will arrive when all these community projects bring light to advances that will benefit humankind, be known by everyone and made household words. I will know when that time comes that all the work put into it was for a greater purpose.

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