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I'm looking to buy a gamer a GPU on which I can run machine learning while he's not playing his games. This naturally lends itself to something like a "screensaver" that, rather than doing anything intensive with the screen, runs when the system is idle and pauses when he's using the system.

Since I'm not the first person to have thought of doing something like this (I'm almost certain), and since GPUs can be so expensive, it seems likely to have been a previously solved problem, at least for Windows 10. However, I've not found anything thus far.

Is this an unmet market or can I buy it off the shelf?

  • Do you have a specific machine learning program you want to run and looking for a supervisor program that can run/pause the program based on system usage, or are you just looking for recommendations to join a distributed computing research project like BOINC? – Lie Ryan Sep 15 '19 at 4:09
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In Windows, screensavers are simply executables. You can confirm this by searching for .scr files on in your c:\windows\system32 directory and renaming one to .exe and double click it to run. Dont foget to change it back to .scr! So if you have programming knowledge, you could make your own screensaver do whatever you want. Simply write a program, rename it to .scr and place it in the c:\windows\system32 directory. The Windows screensaver program will detect the new screensaver and you should be good to go.

There may be an alternative, BOINC. I know very little about it, so you should do some research. They have screensaver based distributed computing programs which are open source. You may be able to adapt the code to your use.

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