By sharing its GPU, Stable Horde generates AI-powered images Computerworld

What if everyone put their PC and more specifically their graphics capabilities at the disposal of a community dedicated to the art of AI? This is the idea of ​​Stable Horde, a distributed and participative cluster running on free and open source software. Thanks to these graphic gifts, everyone can start creating images based on artificial intelligence.

Put your resources at the service of AI art. That’s the idea that sprouted recently with the launch of a grassroots initiative to donate your PC’s extra GPU cycles to quickly create AI-powered art. baptized Stable Horde, she offers all the ways to donate her idle PC time (what the ancients called grid computing) to help other people create AI-powered images. Stable Horde is similar to SETI@Home (which went into “hibernation” in 2020) or Folding@Home. These last two services use the processor power of a PC to solve distributed problems, such as protein analysis.

Here, Stable Horde is essentially a distributed version of Stable Diffusion, which uses a PC’s GPU to create AI-generated art. To join the initiative, two possibilities exist. As a classic user, it is possible to use distributed GPUs to create your own. The other solution is to join his PC to the Horde itself. By opting for this – even if the GPU is not particularly powerful – everyone can use the “kudos”, these accumulated credits to prioritize requests. Joining Stable Horde is basically a nerd project made to help out the community.

Use Stable Horde as a client to create charts

The service offers several frontends to use for creating AI-powered graphics. Our choice fell on ArtBot, which operates Stable Horde. (There is also a separate client interface, with a web version or downloadable software).

By sharing its GPU Stable Horde generates AI powered images Computerworld.webp

The Horde Stable’s ArtBot interface offers a constantly updated view of the evolution of the images created. (Credit: Mark Hachman/IDG)

The only extra thing you need to do is register with Stable Horde, which provides an API key. Registration provides a username, but the API key is what will identify you to the Horde. You must then enter this key in the client. It is possible to use the service anonymously, but this involves being placed at the bottom of the queue. This is not recommended, as new requests will push you further down the queue. Using Stable Horde’s client interface is pretty much the same as using any AI-based image generator, although Horde has plenty of templates to choose from, each with its own graphic style. There’s inpainting, frame-to-frame generation, and upscaling.

Several models are available: the basic ones of Stable Diffusion, but also other more specialized ones such as a version of Stable Diffusion formed on Midjourney. (While the latter does a fantastic job of creating images, it also costs at least $10 per month – this template creates a “free” version instead). And since the Artbot/Stable Horde service is free, everyone can play with what works or not.

There is a tiny trap: the kudos system. To prevent abuse, the developer has implemented a system where each request “costs” a certain number of kudos. These mean nothing except in terms of priority: each request subtracts kudos from its balance, which puts the user in “debt”. Those with the most debt are placed at the bottom of the queue. But if many customers are contributing to the project, it doesn’t really matter, because even users with huge kudos debt will have their demands fulfilled in seconds. The images will not be downloaded automatically, but anyone can download them manually by going to the Images tab.

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Artbot offers many options for creating images, with helpful explanatory text hidden behind the “i” icons. (Credit: Mark Hachman/IDG)

Put your GPU to work in Stable Horde and earn credits

There is also a way to earn rewards: add your GPU to Stable Horde. Every request the user responds to earns kudos. Additionally, by actively contributing to the Horde, anyone can submit image build requests and they will be prioritized. To join your GPU to the Horde, you need to download and run Stable Diffusion. Not all Stable Diffusion forks work, but you can try. Note that to configure Stable Diffusion, you must create a free account on the AI ​​repository, HuggingFace, with a username and password.

You will then have to download the gateway itself. To do this, just go to this Github repository, download and install the zipped version, according to the documentation. Once installed, you will need to configure the bridge with a Horde username and password, as well as the Horde API key, then relaunch the horde-bridge script. There is no need to keep their PC’s GPU connected and powering the tool 24/7, as anyone can either log out or put their system into maintenance mode, which basically indicates that the PC is unavailable . It’s also fair to say that its GPU’s contribution to Stable Horde isn’t for everyone. This is because running a powerful GPU costs money, and the added cost of electricity has to be considered.

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By sharing its GPU, Stable Horde generates AI-powered images Computerworld


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