Prepping for the GPU3 rolling: new client and NVIDIA FAH GPU clients will (in the future) need CUDA 2.2 or later

As we've discussed in previous posts, due to its great computational abilities, our GPU client has had a great scientific impact so far.  In our most recent FAH paper (also see the movie), the GPU clients play a star role in allowing Folding@home to push to unprecedented levels, simulating protein folding on the millisecond timescale in an atomistic model.

We are prepping for the rollout of the next generation GPU client (GPU3).  As mentioned in previous posts, GPU3 will allow for greatly enhanced science (including more accurate models, new science can be done, 2x faster execution of the science, more stable simulations, OpenCL support for run time science optimizations, and greater flexibility for adding new scientific capability).  This is accomplished through the use of the OpenMM GPU library (which originally came from FAH GPU code, but has been significantly enhanced by Simbios staff).

We would like to give donors a heads up of what's coming.  We are doing internal testing now and will do closed beta testing hopefully soon.  With the rollout of the new GPU3/OpenMM-based core (core15) for NVIDIA GPU clients, we will need donors to do two software installs (please note that this is not required to be done immediately, since the new client is not openly available):

1) In order to get WUs using this new core, donors will need to make sure their CUDA level is least CUDA 2.2, but ideally 2.3 or the most recent.  To know which version of CUDA you have, you can find out based on your driver version:

CUDA 2.0: 177.35+
CUDA 2.1: 180.60+
CUDA 2.2: 185.85+
CUDA 2.3: 190.38+
CUDA 3.0/OpenCL: 195.36+

2) A new client will be needed to access GPU3 WUs.  This new client will report the CUDA level to the assignment server, so it can assign around machines with less capable CUDA levels.  Note that "assigning around" the issue means that if your client can't do the work available, it won't be assigned a WU, so it's best to make sure your CUDA drivers are reasonably updated.  We feel this is better than giving a WU which will crash the core, etc.

While the new client has not been openly released yet, we wanted to give this heads up to donors so they have time to upgrade their drivers.  

Thanks to all of the GPU folders.  We have done some great work so far and the best results are yet to come!