When I first started participating in Temple University's ACM chapter, we used to do a yearly community service. The one that sticks out in my mind was Philadelphia Cares -- we'd participate in some of their larger events. This was a great idea, but membership participation fell -- people just didn't want to go around sweeping up trash in Philly. A few of us (ACM officers) decided to try to find something computer-centric. We needed something that was computer oriented and still a service to the community. We went through several ideas -- everything from doing events on Second Life to computer donations. Some of them struck the group's interest, but they were too big for us. Other just got laughed at. I forget who originally suggested it, but we finally had an idea to get behind: Folding at Home.
- Jon Ikoniak donated an old half-height rack
- Christian Wilman donated several machines, a switch, zip ties, RJ45 ends, and some cable
- Rob Masterson threw in a wireless router (for general office use)
- I threw in some machines, some tools, CAT5 cable, a router, RJ45 ends
We assembled, networked, and set up the equipment. Since we're all geeks, we decided to run Debian on all of our machines. From there, we spent some time setting up F@H. To ease the process, we created a few scripts to create a fah user and to create the appropriate directories. Just for the record, we later (as in months) discovered Origami and started leveraging it. We even started integrating it into our website. We haven't done a good job at maintaining it (the current list is a bit out-of-date...some computers have done, others have joined). The computers in our office run a cron job that occasionally SSHs into our web server and posts its current progress in a text file. This text file gets parsed by some PHP code when you view the page (btw: we run Drupal). It was pretty neat to be able to look at a web page and to see how far each machine was progressing on its current work unit.
Since our initial launch, we're also leveraged several other machines around us. We've not only leveraged our home machines, but we've also managed to leverage the CIS department's group of Lucas machines. We've even gotten some of the labs to start folding. At the time of this writing, we rank 1379 of 182762. That puts us in the top 1% of folding teams.