Long term vision for FAH: Science, clients, etc

It's been a while since I've posted on this topic, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the long term vision for FAH.  In the first few years, we have done a lot to build up methodology (novel distributed computing algorithms, tests of methods), especially in the last years working to bring GPU's, PS3's, and tightly coupled SMP calculations to a distributed computing platform.  While all of this has been going on, there has been a lot of work which would have a direct impact to disease and human health, and donors should see more results (i.e. papers) coming out in this direction soon.  In particular, results on Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington's Disease, and some other surprises in the works (sorry, some details are best left until peer review is done).

In terms of a long term vision for the FAH software, our short term goals is to shore up the SMP client.  Just as there was a big improvement from the GPU1 -> GPU2 client, we have been working steadily on an SMP2 client — a version which is much easier to use, requires less donor effort, and scales much better.  This really is a combination of a modified client and (especially) new cores.  This effort has been going on for about a year and it's far enough along that I'm starting to talk about it publicly.

In the previous post, I also mentioned about some of our work behind the scenes in revamping the backened of FAH, i.e. a whole new set of server codes.  We have code for the workserver and collection servers, but in time we expect the full backend to be cleanly rewritten from scratch.

Longer term, with a more solid GPU2 and SMP2 clients done, we can then move on to other areas.  Our goal is to be bleeding edge in the nature of our science, but get back to the simplicity and stability found in the classic client.  We still have a ways to go, but I am excited that projects that were started some time ago are now looking like they will see the light of day.