Folding@home/Seal of Approval
Evaluation took place in 4 categories, each awarding credits ranging from 0 to 5 points, and an overall rating. We had employed an evaluation board of 3 people, the (rounded) average was used.
Category 1: Reliability
The GUI-client for Windows needs a huge amount of system resources and sometimes seems to be unstable. Nethertheless, problems like this do not occur on the Folding@home CLI-client. Crashed workunits do not affect the client, which in this case simply proceeds to the next one. There is a sufficient amount of servers to ensure a continuing workflow in case of hard- or software problems on some of them. New cores are downloaded automatically, but for entirely new functions there is no possibility of automatic upgrade of the client. Security leaks at Folding@home are not known.
Category 2: Communication Policy
The project team offers quick support in the available fora. Latest news about the project are always available on the website in a special section. Detailed background information for newbies and experts are also, always up to date, available on a different part of the website. Part of the homepage is available in up to 13 different languages, but most information is only written in english.
Category 3: Instructions
There are compact guides for download and installation available and a huge FAQ-section offers advanced information about the project and its clients as part of the help-section. The GUI-client is multilingual, just like the needed information to participate in the project. However, the predominant part of the website is written in english. A negative aspect is the sometimes confusing marketing-style in which newer project information is written (like for Playstation 3, SMP-clients and GPU-clients).
Category 4: Benefit for the general public
The non-commercial project Folding@home deals with the folding of proteins, whose function is dependent on their structure. The understanding of protein folding is needed to gather information about how artificial proteins with comparable function can be designet. Like all projects dealing with fundamental research, the final benefits can not be predicted for sure. Nevertheless, the already known results of the project offer promising perspectives.
Folding@home is far leading in the domain of publications in the science press compared to other distributed computing projects. Published are papers to the background of projects informatics as well as the projects results. All results of the project are public too and offered on the Folding@home website
We consider Folding@home to be one of the best currently available distributed computing projects. Some negativa aspects (like mentioned concerning the GUI-client or the newer projects guidances) are known but considered less important than the projects benefits.