Spring Forward (Mar 31 2008)


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Profile Matt Lebofsky
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Message 732974 - Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 21:46:51 UTC

The last few days were a little bumpy, with our workunit storage server disappearing out from underneath us at random (see previous posts for more info). This is still not quite clearly understood. The reigning theory is there's some faulty connection somewhere between the front face of the system (where the reset button is located) and the internal circuitry. This isn't too hard to imagine as there are some servers sitting right on top of it, and pressing ever-so-slightly down on the server's faceplate. A month ago we added that new heavy router to the stack. Perhaps this is the problem, which leads us to the general (and incredibly annoying) rack standards issue: all server racks are by default non-standard size and shape, and therefore we aren't properly racking as much as stacking.

One of the upshots of this were beta uploads were failing all weekend in various ways, most likely due to partially broken mounts between the upload server and the storage server (which contains the beta uploads as well as workunits - SETI@home public uploads are kept right on the upload server itself). This was very difficult to understand, but even worse: it just suddenly started working again - and during a meeting no less (when nobody was actually sitting at a computer doing any tweaking).

I'm leaving early today to have a meeting down on campus with the donation department. Exchanging general ideas for improvement.

- Matt

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Message 732983 - Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 22:02:50 UTC


. . . that's funny re: the upload Server - and with nobody there too ;)

. . . Thanks for the Post Matt - Hope You are Well Sir

< that goes for the entire Berkeley Crew too . . .


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Message 733006 - Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 23:16:23 UTC

Is this some kind of a joke, such a GREAT project on such a poor hardware, or software, or both? Berkeley.edu? SETI? I'm confused!?

.:ExNor:.

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Message 733014 - Posted: 31 Mar 2008, 23:33:15 UTC - in response to Message 733006.

Is this some kind of a joke, such a GREAT project on such a poor hardware, or software, or both? Berkeley.edu? SETI? I'm confused!?

.:ExNor:.


Unfortunately, it isn't a joke. Great project, virtually no constant funding, except for donations from the volunteers (crunchers).
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Message 733052 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 1:31:34 UTC - in response to Message 733006.

Is this some kind of a joke, such a GREAT project on such a poor hardware, or software, or both? Berkeley.edu? SETI? I'm confused!?

.:ExNor:.

Part of the BOINC experiment is to bring distributed computing within reach of many who could not afford expensive hardware or time on big computers. BOINC can run on fairly humble hardware and uses a lot of open-source (i.e. free) software.

Unfortunately, that means a project like SETI can get by on practically no budget.

I guess the good news is: if you want to support a project like SETI, your support means more than it might in some other places.
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Message 733085 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 4:15:57 UTC - in response to Message 732974.

The last few days were a little bumpy, with our workunit storage server disappearing out from underneath us at random (see previous posts for more info). This is still not quite clearly understood. The reigning theory is there's some faulty connection somewhere between the front face of the system (where the reset button is located) and the internal circuitry. This isn't too hard to imagine as there are some servers sitting right on top of it, and pressing ever-so-slightly down on the server's faceplate. A month ago we added that new heavy router to the stack. Perhaps this is the problem, which leads us to the general (and incredibly annoying) rack standards issue: all server racks are by default non-standard size and shape, and therefore we aren't properly racking as much as stacking.

One of the upshots of this were beta uploads were failing all weekend in various ways, most likely due to partially broken mounts between the upload server and the storage server (which contains the beta uploads as well as workunits - SETI@home public uploads are kept right on the upload server itself). This was very difficult to understand, but even worse: it just suddenly started working again - and during a meeting no less (when nobody was actually sitting at a computer doing any tweaking).

I'm leaving early today to have a meeting down on campus with the donation department. Exchanging general ideas for improvement.

- Matt


It isn't quite April Fools Day yet. You just have to make sure the Janitor stops leaning his mop on the reset button!

Maybe it is time to get a bunch of "standard" (the same make model) racks and the rack mounts (hardware) to go with them. And if you can't get something to cooperate, get a shelf unit for the rack so it isn't on the top of something else. Yes I know, you need to find a way to cram another rack into the closet because it all won't fit on 3 racks once it is done up right.

Racks, can't live with them, can't live without them. ;)

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Message 733149 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 10:17:12 UTC

Oh, I'm sorry guys, i didn't now that, as I am pretty new member of this project, but I'm still wondering why such a big, and famous universtity like Berkeley isn't interested in supporting this magnificent project? A donation of few servers and rack, wouldn't be such a big deal for that huge educational organization, in my opinion.

Best regards to all of you crunchers out there!

.:ExNor:.

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Message 733157 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 11:16:12 UTC - in response to Message 733149.

Oh, I'm sorry guys, i didn't now that, as I am pretty new member of this project, but I'm still wondering why such a big, and famous universtity like Berkeley isn't interested in supporting this magnificent project? A donation of few servers and rack, wouldn't be such a big deal for that huge educational organization, in my opinion.

Best regards to all of you crunchers out there!

.:ExNor:.


It's not so much the University as it is the state of California with big budget cuts, etc.
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Message 733169 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 12:39:20 UTC - in response to Message 733149.

Oh, I'm sorry guys, i didn't know that, as I am pretty new member of this project, but I'm still wondering why such a big, and famous university like Berkeley isn't interested in supporting this magnificent project? A donation of few servers and rack, wouldn't be such a big deal for that huge educational organization, in my opinion.

Best regards to all of you crunchers out there!

.:ExNor:.


the University is already supporting the project with free rooms, free access to the campus net, part of the salaries for the project personnel, etc...
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Message 733170 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 12:41:17 UTC
Last modified: 1 Apr 2008, 12:42:03 UTC

Mmm, Matt, main project downloads are on the fritz again, at this writing...
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Message 733177 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 13:17:58 UTC - in response to Message 733170.

Mmm, Matt, main project downloads are on the fritz again, at this writing...


Yes, seems to be a general problem. Doubtless the genii will sort it out when they get in.
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Message 733243 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 22:04:19 UTC - in response to Message 733169.

the University is already supporting the project with free rooms, free access to the campus net, part of the salaries for the project personnel, etc...


I appreciate the explanation - but actually this is wrong on all three accounts.

UC takes a small cut of all money we bring in (grants, donations). In return they provide basic infrastructure (offices, desks, chairs, sometimes server racks they were otherwise going to throw away) and services (payroll, grant preparation, donation processing). The network infrastructure is extra. We get charged per IP address/server on the net, and at this point pay for most of our bandwidth beyond the campus net ourselves. And not one cent of our salary comes from the university.

- Matt

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Message 733265 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 22:11:05 UTC

So my question would be, does the benefit outweigh the cut that they are taking?
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Message 733288 - Posted: 1 Apr 2008, 22:17:42 UTC - in response to Message 733265.

So my question would be, does the benefit outweigh the cut that they are taking?


I think the general consensus is that it's pretty much a wash.

- Matt
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Message 733407 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 0:58:09 UTC
Last modified: 2 Apr 2008, 1:03:06 UTC

The whole thing pisses me off.. maybe you should do research on weapons for the war.. I'm sure you could get all the Government grants and then some!

I find it totally amazing that the big players in computers I.E. Dell, Gateway, IBM. Compaq. ect are not donating hardware. Call me stupid but it seems to me that BOINC/SETI would be the ideal place to test out servers, hard drives and such.. All us crunchers work the hell outta seti's hardware! Dell gives studio audiences (like Ellen Degeneres's show last Xmas) laptops worth $800.00 or more each ... Say 300 people times $800.00.. hummm $240,000.00!! Thats retail of course but still.. even at 100% markup... that's 120 thousand dollars.. and what would it take to set seti with hardware for the next 5 years???? 50K.. 75K..
It would be cool IMHO, to see a deal cut with say.. Intel/Dell for exclusive advertisment rights on Seti's web site. I myself would be happy to click away on their banners in support of SETI and it could also maybe work both ways... I'd be cool if Dells shipped with BOINC installed but not attached, giving the customer the right to opt out. 2 years from now.. you'd need the bandwidth of the entire internet!!
Just my two cents for the day.


Oh yeah.. I wanted to tell you guys at SETI what I think of your work there..
When the day comes when the signals are found.. and I have NO DOUBTS IT WILL... I hope you people get the recognition you all deserve for the above and beyond effort put in to this project!!

Ok.. I'm shutting up now..
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Message 733422 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 1:48:43 UTC

Should I be contribting 275W to this effort from a dual-zeon ??
Stan at SAVANT

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Message 733430 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 2:09:10 UTC - in response to Message 733422.
Last modified: 2 Apr 2008, 2:13:24 UTC

Should I be contribting 275W to this effort from a dual-zeon ??
Stan at SAVANT

lol.. I hear that.. I can't wait to get my electric bill.. I have 9 computers crunching now.
Yes you should Savant.. Just think how cool and what it will mean to us Tarrie when other intellegent life is found.. cooler yet.. what if it was your work unit that found the signal!!
I hope you didn't miss understand me.. I just wish the general public and companies understood how important this research is. If I had the money, Id send some in.. but for now.. this is all I can do.

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Message 733436 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 2:21:52 UTC - in response to Message 733407.

The whole thing pisses me off.. maybe you should do research on weapons for the war.. I'm sure you could get all the Government grants and then some!

I find it totally amazing that the big players in computers I.E. Dell, Gateway, IBM. Compaq. ect are not donating hardware. Call me stupid but it seems to me that BOINC/SETI would be the ideal place to test out servers, hard drives and such.. All us crunchers work the hell outta seti's hardware! Dell gives studio audiences (like Ellen Degeneres's show last Xmas) laptops worth $800.00 or more each ... Say 300 people times $800.00.. hummm $240,000.00!! Thats retail of course but still.. even at 100% markup... that's 120 thousand dollars.. and what would it take to set seti with hardware for the next 5 years???? 50K.. 75K..
It would be cool IMHO, to see a deal cut with say.. Intel/Dell for exclusive advertisment rights on Seti's web site. I myself would be happy to click away on their banners in support of SETI and it could also maybe work both ways... I'd be cool if Dells shipped with BOINC installed but not attached, giving the customer the right to opt out. 2 years from now.. you'd need the bandwidth of the entire internet!!
Just my two cents for the day.


Oh yeah.. I wanted to tell you guys at SETI what I think of your work there..
When the day comes when the signals are found.. and I have NO DOUBTS IT WILL... I hope you people get the recognition you all deserve for the above and beyond effort put in to this project!!

Ok.. I'm shutting up now..

wanted to add.... there is the chilling fact of trying to keep control of seti if Intel or Dell got involved.. there would have to be a lawyer (nasty 6 letter word) writing contracts
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Message 733443 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 2:39:10 UTC - in response to Message 732983.


. . . that's funny re: the upload Server - and with nobody there too ;)

. . . Thanks for the Post Matt - Hope You are Well Sir

< that goes for the entire Berkeley Crew too . . .


Profile Matt Lebofsky
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Message 733446 - Posted: 2 Apr 2008, 2:40:38 UTC - in response to Message 733436.

I find it totally amazing that the big players in computers I.E. Dell, Gateway, IBM. Compaq. ect are not donating hardware...


For the record, Sun Microsystems has always been insanely generous as long as I worked here at the lab (13+ years). Intel has been great, too. Nevertheless there is a limit to what we can get. Everybody was chipping in back in the dot com bubble days, but now that the economy is in ruin not so much.

- Matt

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