SETI@Home for PS3 Linux (alpha testing)

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Profile Gaurav Khanna
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Message 579107 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 11:37:56 UTC
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 11:44:50 UTC

A few weeks ago I built the BOINC based SETI@Home distributed computing client for the PlayStation3 running PowerPC Linux (YDL). I have been testing it myself for a few days now and it appears to be working properly and its performance isn't too bad for an "alpha" release.

On the Cell, the FFT computation, which is the computationally intensive part of the SETI app, is done on the SPEs while the rest is done on the PPE. Moreover, it runs two copies of the SETI app simultaneously i.e. pretends that the Cell is a dual core system. I found this combination to be an "optimal" choice for now, because in this manner the app utilizes the fact that the PPE can run two threads simultaneously. Of course, in this implementation, each copy of the app only uses 3 SPEs for the FFT computation.

From what I can tell the performance of this Cell app, on average, is not bad. It is competes well with high-end Pentiums, Xeons, etc. but not as well with the very recent offerings from Intel, i.e. C2Ds, new Xeons, etc. Moreover, its performance varies tremendously on the type of work unit it gets. Thats why I need a lot more performance data to understand problem spots, for further improving it. If you do decide to run it on your PS3 running Linux, please do join the SETI@PS3 team, so I can keep track of how its doing. Thanks.

You can download the PS3/Cell SETI@Home app from here: http://gravity.phy.umassd.edu/~gkhanna/sah-cell.tar.gz

Instructions on how to run it (using an anonymous platform) are here:

1) Unzip and untar the downloaded file using "tar zxvf sah-cell.tar.gz". This will create a directory called "SaH".

2) Go to the SETI project website: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/ and create an account, if you don't have one already. You'll need your "account key", which is a long string of alphanumeric characters that you usually receive in an email.

3) Now, change your working directory to SaH, by doing a "cd SaH" and then type the following:
"./boinc_client -no_gui_rpc -attach_project http://setiathome.berkeley.edu df0d93e384a2700f70e0bc45a1b2c96c". Here the last string of alphanumeric characters is supposed to be YOUR account key. Please replace those with that. All this must be entered in a single line.

4) You should be all set. BOINC will contact the SETI servers and start getting work. You can check the progress in your SETI account online.

5) If you need to quit and restart, simply typing "./boinc_client -no_gui_rpc" should be enough.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or have any trouble. Thanks.

Good luck.

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B-Roy

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Message 579147 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 12:47:00 UTC
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 12:48:27 UTC

to be quite honest, I am very interested in everything that has to do with the PS3 and BOINC. However, having had a look at your PS3's performance I am a bit underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong please, I truly value your effort and all work you put into this, but your crunching times and RAC are worse than what I see on my (very) old cpu. It would thus be interesting whether and how you use the SPEs.
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Message 579155 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 13:13:03 UTC

Congratulations on an outstanding achievement!!!
Getting S@H to work w/ the SPEs is a major step forward.
Now, the effort can be placed on optimizing the code for the most efficient use of the architecture.

I suspect there is quite a bit of potential yet to be realized.
Congrats again!
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Profile Gaurav Khanna
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Message 579179 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 14:01:22 UTC
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 14:03:28 UTC

This is only an alpha release. Yes, there is certainly scope for a lot of improvement. But, I need more performance data for that. The PS3 does very well for some workunits and poorly for others. I need to understand this better. Thats why I am counting on some PS3 users joining in the testing here.

Also, I'm no expert on this RAC business, but my PS3 system hasn't been running long enough to have a steady RAC. For now, its more fair to compare the explicit times of the same workunits with other systems. Here are some samples:

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/workunit.php?wuid=128805351
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/workunit.php?wuid=131155732
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/workunit.php?wuid=131616379

Looking at some of these, the performance of the app isn't that bad. Also, note that the PS3 has two SETI apps running, so for these workunits only half of the available CPU resources were used.

I have compared the performance of this app to one that runs entirely on the PPE. The PPE-only app performs very poorly (possibly comparable to an old 1.0 GHz CPU).
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Message 579184 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 14:17:50 UTC - in response to Message 579179.  

This is only an alpha release.
snip


Congratulations on the good effort!

However, take a look at the credit your app is claiming. It is higher than the other pc's on the same wu.

For example http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/workunit.php?wuid=131616379 should have been claiming 29.36 credits like the other 2 pc's.....instead your ps3 has claimed 33.41

That is something you might want to address in future releases.

I know, I've pointed this out before, however a little checking now, will save you a lot of grief from other crunchers on the forum later....;-)
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Profile [AF>HFR>RR] ThierryH
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Message 579200 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 15:00:55 UTC

I'm currently Beta testing PS3GRID (http://www.ps3grid.net/PS3GRID) but there's just a few work for the moment. So I'll install your software on my PS3 this evening, but I will stay in AF team. I'll give you my computer ID for your work.

I also can help you to modify sources to use SPUs.
We have to increase current speed by 50x to be sure we're using all the Cell power ;)

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Josef W. Segur
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Message 579210 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 15:36:34 UTC - in response to Message 579184.  

This is only an alpha release.
snip


Congratulations on the good effort!

However, take a look at the credit your app is claiming. It is higher than the other pc's on the same wu.

For example http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/workunit.php?wuid=131616379 should have been claiming 29.36 credits like the other 2 pc's.....instead your ps3 has claimed 33.41

That is something you might want to address in future releases.

I know, I've pointed this out before, however a little checking now, will save you a lot of grief from other crunchers on the forum later....;-)

It's clear the app is based on the 5.17 cvs source, so it has the 13.7% higher
#define LOAD_STORE_ADJUSTMENT 3.81
in seti.h . Simply lowering that to 3.35 as used by 5.15 would bring the credit claims in line. But with the quorum at 2 the lower credit claim is granted anyhow and the likelihood of both members of the quorum using the PS3 app is extremely small.
                                                                Joe
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Message 579248 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 17:17:36 UTC - in response to Message 579210.  

Hi Gaurav,

have you tried using the code form the 2.2b chicken app ? I recommend using that if you wanna get a boost in speed.

Which fftw release did you use ?

BTW... am i remembering correctly that you are somehow related to Einstein@Home and tried to get the code working on the PS3 too ?





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Profile [AF>HFR>RR] ThierryH
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Message 579249 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 17:22:35 UTC - in response to Message 579248.  

Hi Gaurav,

have you tried using the code form the 2.2b chicken app ? I recommend using that if you wanna get a boost in speed.

Which fftw release did you use ?

BTW... am i remembering correctly that you are somehow related to Einstein@Home and tried to get the code working on the PS3 too ?





Hi Crunch3r,
Is chicken code only for Intel compiler or we can use it on others ?

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Message 579250 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 17:22:59 UTC - in response to Message 579200.  
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 17:23:38 UTC

I'm currently Beta testing PS3GRID (http://www.ps3grid.net/PS3GRID) but there's just a few work for the moment. So I'll install your software on my PS3 this evening, but I will stay in AF team. I'll give you my computer ID for your work.

I also can help you to modify sources to use SPUs.
We have to increase current speed by 50x to be sure we're using all the Cell power ;)


it seems that there are some good development concerning the PS3 and BOINC. It all looks very promising. I am quite excited about all the research done in that area and confident that some programming magiciens (like some of you) will get the thing flying. In any case, I'll have to wait for a price decrease of the PS3 or my first salary in a few months to get my hands on one of these crunchers. Including the development around the AMD/Intel quadcores makes for an interesting time to come.

P.S: I like BOINC exactly because of the involved community and all the effort to answer questions, bring up new aspects, etc. Sometimes I wish I had studied informatics, but on the other hand who know what business and international relations might be good for.

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Profile [AF>HFR>RR] ThierryH
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Message 579269 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 18:13:46 UTC

Package installed and launched.
All WUs directly under error. I stopped for the moment to not download WUs for nothing.
My PS3 computer page: PS3

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Message 579275 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 18:33:07 UTC - in response to Message 579249.  
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 18:36:11 UTC


Hi Crunch3r,
Is chicken code only for Intel compiler or we can use it on others ?


It's for all platforms... mostly. I used it for Alpha EV6 on linux with gcc, Itanium on linux ICC and atm i'm building the FreeBSD port of it (ICC).

If you wan't to discuss it please use the "Porting 2.2B "chicken app" to alt. platforms" thread cuz that's what it was there for... well until Henri Highjacked it ;)







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Profile Gaurav Khanna
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Message 579315 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 20:26:18 UTC - in response to Message 579269.  

Package installed and launched.
All WUs directly under error. I stopped for the moment to not download WUs for nothing.
My PS3 computer page: PS3


You need to have libspe installed on your system. Download the rpms at:
http://www.bsc.es/plantillaH.php?cat_id=253

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Profile [AF>HFR>RR] ThierryH
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Message 579325 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 20:44:52 UTC - in response to Message 579315.  

Package installed and launched.
All WUs directly under error. I stopped for the moment to not download WUs for nothing.
My PS3 computer page: PS3


You need to have libspe installed on your system. Download the rpms at:
http://www.bsc.es/plantillaH.php?cat_id=253


OK, but which version and how I can install it ?
Thanks.
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[BOINCstats] Willy
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Message 579332 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 21:03:39 UTC

It would be nice if you can get the client to report a CPU vendor/type so that we can compare performance is the host CPU breakdown stats.

If you were yo use the same info as the PS3GRID project we can compare it in BOINC combined as well:
<p_vendor>PS3PF</p_vendor>
<p_model>Cell Broadband Engine</p_model>

(Have no PS3 to test on myself)

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Profile Gaurav Khanna
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Message 579370 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 22:19:33 UTC - in response to Message 579325.  

Package installed and launched.
All WUs directly under error. I stopped for the moment to not download WUs for nothing.
My PS3 computer page: PS3


You need to have libspe installed on your system. Download the rpms at:
http://www.bsc.es/plantillaH.php?cat_id=253


OK, but which version and how I can install it ?
Thanks.


Please download those rpms and install them using this command, as root: "rpm -i rpmfilename.rpm"




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Profile Gaurav Khanna
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Message 579371 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 22:20:50 UTC - in response to Message 579332.  

It would be nice if you can get the client to report a CPU vendor/type so that we can compare performance is the host CPU breakdown stats.

If you were yo use the same info as the PS3GRID project we can compare it in BOINC combined as well:
<p_vendor>PS3PF</p_vendor>
<p_model>Cell Broadband Engine</p_model>

(Have no PS3 to test on myself)


Where exactly do I set these <p_vendor> and <p_model> tags? Thanks.
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Message 579379 - Posted: 31 May 2007, 22:44:17 UTC
Last modified: 31 May 2007, 23:02:38 UTC

Here's some news from "boinc projects" mail list, that some of you might find of interest

David Anderson to Boinc
show details 12:47 pm (5 hours ago)

A group in Barcelona has ported the BOINC client
and an app (molecular dynamics) to the PS3 running Linux.
We'll offer the client for download on the BOINC web site,
and will add a Wiki page with info about porting apps to PS3.
Projects can consider porting their app to the PS3
(warning: this is harder than just getting it to compile).

Of course, there are only a few PS3s running Linux.
FYI, I have been negotiating with Sony for 8 months
about porting BOINC to the standard PS3
(which runs a proprietary OS, not Linux)
and having it included in the default software,
like they're currently doing for Folding@home.

These negotiations stalled, at least for the time being.
Maybe some activity in the PS3/Linux/BOINC area will
rekindle their interest.

-- David


I just checked the master download page, and don't see it there yet.

And at the Boinc main page, I see the following:

News
May 31, 2007
Sony Playstation 3 owners: researchers at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park have launched PS3GRID, a BOINC-based project whose application (molecular dynamics simulations) runs on the PS3's Cell processor, on Linux.
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Message 579547 - Posted: 1 Jun 2007, 3:40:53 UTC

Awesome!!!!!

PS3 and Seti!!!

I really need a PS3 now!!!!!!!!
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Message 579615 - Posted: 1 Jun 2007, 5:57:13 UTC - in response to Message 579370.  


Please download those rpms and install them using this command, as root: "rpm -i rpmfilename.rpm"





Thanks.

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