April 14, 2007 at 9:52 AM

I've plunged back into Folding @ Home, Stanford's distributed computing project that aims to provide insights into the causes of (and hopefully cures for) Alzheimer's Disease, Cancer, Huntington's Disease, and others. I'm in a mad race to catch up with my brother and one other guy, who both have already accrued more than 20 WUs.

I've been running into some unfortunate problems, though. The Linux SMP version is 64-bit only, and strange things have happened when I've run two instances of the single-processor version in tandem. I think I've worked out all of the kinks now, but I'm not entirely sure. Once already the client has experienced a core failure and deleted a WU that was 99% complete—how's that for frustrating? The biggest "no-no" I've learned is to not use Ctrl+C to shut down the client—that deletes current WU and fetches a new one, despite it being an almost universal "shut down" command. Second on the list is to shut down the client with the kill command instead of simply closing the terminal in which it's running. Merely closing the terminal is considered an "improper shutdown," and results in disabled optimizations and terrible performance. Ugh. Why can't I just have a pretty screen saver like they offer for the Windows version?