Small Word (Sep 20 2007)

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Message 648084 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 20:22:24 UTC - in response to Message 647737.  

Well with people caching more work it means that you are more likely to get paired with a slow computer (slow to return result) rather than a fast one. That's life.


No, it's not "life", it's inconsiderate. For example, if you "recruited" Aunt Bertha's computer and it's is only on a couple of of hours a week to check email and you really think it needs to run a DC project, you don't need a ten day cache. It won't run out of work if there's a two or three day outage, it just won't. And even if it did, just how much credit are you going to lose? A dozen or so off of your RAC will not... make... a difference.

Actually, if you "recruit" Aunt Bertha's computer and give it a weeks cache, BOINC will figure out how much it runs, and adjust the cache size appropriately.

One WU is more than one weeks' work.
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Message 648086 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 20:25:35 UTC - in response to Message 648034.  

The deadlines for that are just far too long.

Shorter deadlines would be good; 2-3 weeks for the longest of Work Units should be more than enough for the slowest of crunchers.

When we had short deadlines, people got all panicky about "panic mode."

EDF is your friend. It allows shorter deadlines without loss of work.

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Message 648118 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 21:45:06 UTC - in response to Message 648017.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2007, 21:49:39 UTC

I hope you will agree, from my posting history, that I'm not a credit whore (and I'm sure that you weren't directing that comment at me - no offence taken).

But I get upset too. I get upset because the scientific aims of the project are put at risk, because the ancient and underfunded hardware is stressed beyond its limits by keeping an excessive and unnecessary volume of archival material in working, front-line, active storage.

The comment was certainly general, especially so being as the credits race has been discussed by many people so often.


There is amazing enthusiasm for this project by some people, which I think is great stuff. Witness all the passion that explodes from the forums on occasion also!

I consider both the project and the science to be very worthwhile. There is even science in how all this and the science are being done.

With all that, this is still a volunteer project and Berkeley always suffer a little from the participants getting a little 'too enthusiastic' to the point of trying to push the project beyond what Berkeley can ever hope to offer.

We are all still very much helping Berkeley due to their provision of the infrastructure.

As an aside, a lot of participants also get a lot of fun and even education out of all this!

I agree that BOINC is designed to tolerate and recover from stresses like this, but I still think, and say, that it's antisocial to test those stress limits when they can be avoided with a little thoughtfulness.

I see a LOT of thoughtfulness go into how the people (one person often) at Berkeley go about juggling the systems that they have. It is quite a story just for getting the few snippets that we do get for how they are straining whatever hardware, network, OS, filesystem, or whatever beyond normal operation, and still keeping it all going. Sometimes (often?) with out-of-hours unpaid working...


I'll admit that I've wondered how secure the master science database is against HDD corruption. Then again, there's postings to reassure us that indeed backups are run. I just hope they also have backups OFFSITE to guard against fire, theft, earthquakes, meteor strike, or 'whatever'...

The Berkeley team have been juggling all this for over a decade. I should think that they have a very good idea of what they are doing!

Much more so than many 'professionals'...


Often with Science, there is also lots of Patience!

Happy crunchin',
Martin

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Message 648132 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 22:27:01 UTC
Last modified: 24 Sep 2007, 22:29:07 UTC

I don't get those who attack those who, like myself, wonder, "Why *should* I waste my computer, waste power, and the money spent on power, pay for replacement parts, etc., on work units that are never used, because Berkeley doesn't have its act together?"

It would be one thing if it were the occasional, rare occurence. No, it's continual.

What *would* be irrational would be just to say, "Oh, no no, I don't mind wasting my money on work that's never used. You keep up the good work, failure-prone though it is. I have infinite patience."
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Message 648149 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 22:41:18 UTC

Nope, not done venting. In fact, I'm just getting started.

When I first joined this project back in 2001, built up some credit, lost it with an email address change, rejoined in 2002, things were fairly cool here.
You had project people saying things like, "Oh, no, we don't want you running 24/7 just for SETI@home's sake; we want you to be green." Well, I'm an enthusiast, and not a big believer in my machine's capability to destroy Earth, so I ran 24/7.

Recently (within the last two or three years), there has been almost a paradigm shift in attitude. Now it's all about who has the biggest, fastest collection of machines. Gone is the, "There's this old man, who has a Heathkit and a 300-baud modem, who is so proud of the handful of work units he's able to contribute in a year." No, now it's some kind of juvenile pissing contest between junior-high-like -- albeit vicious -- little geeks with nothing better to do.

There was a time when the molasses-slow machines and B/Ws were a hefty part of the project. You've managed to drive most of them off. Congratulations. Maybe we can get the U.S. Treasury to mint you a coin, Heroes.
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Message 648153 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 22:45:23 UTC - in response to Message 648118.  

I see a LOT of thoughtfulness go into how the people (one person often) at Berkeley go about juggling the systems that they have. It is quite a story just for getting the few snippets that we do get for how they are straining whatever hardware, network, OS, filesystem, or whatever beyond normal operation, and still keeping it all going. Sometimes (often?) with out-of-hours unpaid working...

Absolutely - couldn't agree more.

If only the same thoughtfulness could be exhibited by the user community (crunchers, or sometimes ex-crunchers). Maybe then the Berkeley people would have to do less fire-fighting, and could get on with the scientific analysis Simon so rightly reminds us of.
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Message 648173 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 23:30:52 UTC - in response to Message 648132.  

I don't get those who attack those who, like myself, wonder, "Why *should* I waste my computer, waste power, and the money spent on power, pay for replacement parts, etc., on work units that are never used, because Berkeley doesn't have its act together?"

It would be one thing if it were the occasional, rare occurence. No, it's continual.

What *would* be irrational would be just to say, "Oh, no no, I don't mind wasting my money on work that's never used. You keep up the good work, failure-prone though it is. I have infinite patience."

One big change from Classic to BOINC:

When classic ran out of work, it simply recycled what it had. Most were happy because they were always crunching, even if the work had been adequately crunched.

BOINC will let you go idle instead of providing "busy work."

Unlike Classic (without add-ons) BOINC will queue work for times when servers are down.

It's all much better than it was under Classic.

Your other statement: Berkeley's position has not changed. BOINC (and SETI) are designed to exploit a waste product -- idle CPU cycles.

Certainly, there are many folks here that have spent a lot of money to create waste CPU cycles -- and the race for credits is huge motivation for some.

... but Berkeley isn't asking for machines built just for SETI. In fact, things would probably be better for SETI if 20% of that money had been donated (to bring in better servers) than spent on hardware "at home."
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Message 648183 - Posted: 24 Sep 2007, 23:53:08 UTC - in response to Message 648149.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2007, 23:53:50 UTC

Nope, not done venting. In fact, I'm just getting started.

When I first joined this project back in 2001, ...

Now it's all about who has the biggest, fastest collection of machines. Gone is the, "There's this old man, who has a Heathkit and a 300-baud modem, who is so proud of the handful of work units he's able to contribute in a year." No, now it's some kind of juvenile pissing contest between junior-high-like -- albeit vicious -- little geeks with nothing better to do. ...

Take a look at the "P90" thread. Excellent fun!

And don't be put off by the (one) Giga-Geek working all hours to show off the fastest one PC in the world. (Then again, was there not a liquid nitrogen cooled Overclock of some system to 5 GHz + last year?)


There's still a lot of fun and passion and Science in this game.

Welcome onboard, even if the forums are a little 'hot' sometimes.

Happy crunchin',
Martin

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Message 648354 - Posted: 25 Sep 2007, 6:07:38 UTC - in response to Message 648149.  
Last modified: 25 Sep 2007, 6:23:21 UTC

Nope, not done venting. In fact, I'm just getting started.

When I first joined this project back in 2001, built up some credit, lost it with an email address change, rejoined in 2002, things were fairly cool here.
You had project people saying things like, "Oh, no, we don't want you running 24/7 just for SETI@home's sake; we want you to be green." Well, I'm an enthusiast, and not a big believer in my machine's capability to destroy Earth, so I ran 24/7.

Recently (within the last two or three years), there has been almost a paradigm shift in attitude. Now it's all about who has the biggest, fastest collection of machines. Gone is the, "There's this old man, who has a Heathkit and a 300-baud modem, who is so proud of the handful of work units he's able to contribute in a year." No, now it's some kind of juvenile pissing contest between junior-high-like -- albeit vicious -- little geeks with nothing better to do.

There was a time when the molasses-slow machines and B/Ws were a hefty part of the project. You've managed to drive most of them off. Congratulations. Maybe we can get the U.S. Treasury to mint you a coin, Heroes.


Simon....your opinions may be well taken, but your rhetoric is a bit, shall we say, aggressive. I am 50 years old, and am not sure if I should be referred to as being part of a "juvenile pissing contest between junior-high-like -- albeit vicious -- little geeks with nothing better to do."
I crunch Seti for the science, but it has also become a hobby and somewhat of a sport for me to see how much crunching I can eke out of my little 8 rig farm. And I do not think I have ever been vicious to anybody ever in this forum.

Believe it or not, the "molasses slow" machines crunching away in the background contribute the lion's share of the work done here. All contributions are worthwhile and welcome here. It is just that the current stable of ever-faster crunching rigs in the top 100 computer listings are the most visible. And because their owners tend to be very involved in the project, they are also the most vocal as well. And I am very proud of what I am contributing here!

I hope you can understand that some folks' enthusiasm for the project is different from yours. I have contributed money directly to the project as well as spending money for new computers for my own enjoyment. Computers have changed, Seti has changed, but the goal remains the same....to find some proof that there is life beyond ours in existence somewhere. I hope you will remain involved, to whatever extent you choose.

And the kitties say...."Just keep 'em crunching!"
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message 648416 - Posted: 25 Sep 2007, 10:04:07 UTC - in response to Message 648183.  
Last modified: 25 Sep 2007, 10:05:21 UTC

Nope, not done venting. In fact, I'm just getting started.

When I first joined this project back in 2001, ...

Take a look at the "P90" thread. Excellent fun!

Ooooooops!

Downgrade that by one third!

That should read "Take a look at the "P60" thread."


Happy crunchin',
Martin

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Message 648520 - Posted: 25 Sep 2007, 14:56:31 UTC - in response to Message 648416.  

That should read "Take a look at the "P60" thread."


That thread should be taken out and shot for wasting so much time and energy!
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Message 648918 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 8:52:59 UTC - in response to Message 647909.  


BOINC is designed so that your scenario of inconsiderate people just doesn't happen. So any pending credits you have are due to the speed of the crunchers themselves and not an over-inflated cache setting. Not everyone has a fast computer.

As said, that's life.


So, you're saying that this 754 pin AMD Athlon 3200 is beating the pants off a whole raft of Core II Duos and quad? I appreciate the compliments, but I don't buy it. The hardware is overclocked, true, and Win XP has had every service not needed killed, true, but it still won't even be close. Those machines should have turnarounds at least 1/4 of this one and RACs at least four times higher, but they don't, and the science and we sit and wait a month for a Core II, duo, or quad to return work.

"When all possibilities are eliminated what remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

And that's life, too.
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Message 648946 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 11:35:21 UTC - in response to Message 648918.  
Last modified: 26 Sep 2007, 11:35:56 UTC

... and the science and we sit and wait a month ...

Are those hosts just running a maximum sized cache?

Meanwhile, we've waited many years for the radio signals to arrive at earth, and then a while longer again for the data to then be sent to us for processing, a small further wait might be irritating but no big deal.

Neglected hosts are only a small nuisance.

And Boinc is deliberately designed to allow for unreliable hosts.


There's more to the Big Crunch than just credits :-)

(And you get the pleasure of a RAC boost when any delayed credits do roll in later! ;-) )


Happy crunchin',
Martin

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Message 649007 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 14:18:40 UTC - in response to Message 648946.  

And Boinc is deliberately designed to allow for unreliable hosts.


Deliberately designed badly!

The current deadline system is a development short cut to get the system
quickly up and running.

Now that the system is running, it should be revised and done properly.
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Message 649028 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 15:14:28 UTC - in response to Message 649007.  

... The current deadline system is a development short cut to get the system quickly up and running.

Now that the system is running, it should be revised ...

What needs doing differently or improving?

Cheers,
Martin

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Message 649114 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 17:01:17 UTC - in response to Message 649028.  
Last modified: 26 Sep 2007, 17:04:13 UTC

... The current deadline system is a development short cut to get the system quickly up and running.

Now that the system is running, it should be revised ...

What needs doing differently or improving?

Cheers,
Martin


Simply:
If boinc detects a user disappearing without 'agreement' for a few days, his
uncrunched workunits automatically return to the pool.
He can download new ones on resumption. This is no inconvenience.

By agreement, I mean anyone not having indicated they'll be processing
offline.

Likewise, if a user knows he's going away and the machine won't be crunching
in his absence, he can push a button to return uncrunched WUs, instead of
using the too drastic detach from project.

This is a day's programming for an intelligent programmer to sort
out on the server side.

I believe clients already have the capability to react to recalls
in one form or another, in the form of cancellations or deletions,
so they can automatically be removed from their queues.

This is pretty much a model of checking out books from a library.
If you know you're going to emigrate, go blind or get murdered,
then a process exists to return the books before the deadline
and avoid a financial penalty, which doesn't exist in boinc's case!

This is just so beneficial to everyone and logical to me,
I just can't imagine why anyone wants to resist it.
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Message 649164 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 18:03:33 UTC

The system needs to be intervention free; your description requires some manual case handling, which will certainly fail to meet the goals. "Set and Forget" should be the watchword.

Is there a simple flowchart online regarding this process so that we can understand what is intended today? I notice I'm getting a lot of wu's that time out in a couple of months, eventhough most of my computers have a 1w or less turn around (due to my current cache settings). On the face of it, a two month time out doesn't bother me, but seems to bother a lot of people looking for a responsive rac metric.
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Message 649167 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 18:08:55 UTC - in response to Message 649164.  

The system needs to be intervention free; your description requires some manual case handling, which will certainly fail to meet the goals. "Set and Forget" should be the watchword.

Is there a simple flowchart online regarding this process so that we can understand what is intended today? I notice I'm getting a lot of wu's that time out in a couple of months, eventhough most of my computers have a 1w or less turn around (due to my current cache settings). On the face of it, a two month time out doesn't bother me, but seems to bother a lot of people looking for a responsive rac metric.

OK.....just to throw out a thought.
How about adding another stat for the hosts. Let's call it 'Potential RAC'. Calulate the RAC for the hosts including the pending credits, should they be awarded as claimed. The current RAC would still be all that really matters, but it might be interesting to have a 'Potential RAC' taking into account what is waiting on the wingmen.
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Message 649174 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 18:18:43 UTC - in response to Message 649164.  

The system needs to be intervention free; your description requires some manual case handling, which will certainly fail to meet the goals. "Set and Forget" should be the watchword.

I agree.
At most the deadlines could be changed to better reflect actual processing times. But making things even more complicated, just so people get credit sooner, isn't a good move.
Grant
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Message 649198 - Posted: 26 Sep 2007, 19:00:36 UTC - in response to Message 649114.  

OK, a few of my ramblings:

... If boinc detects a user disappearing without 'agreement' for a few days, his uncrunched workunits automatically return to the pool. He can download new ones on resumption. ...

Sounds like a 'heartbeat' check between the project servers and the clients.


... Likewise, if a user knows he's going away and the machine won't be crunching in his absence, he can push a button to return uncrunched WUs, instead of using the too drastic detach from project.

Well, a 'detach' shouldn't be necessary in any case.

The 'will be away, on holiday' idea has been discussed before. I don't know how JM7 (or someone else) can add anything more meaningful than the existing "No New Work" setting.


This is a day's programming for an intelligent programmer to sort
out on the server side.

The code is Open Source and Dr A is very amenable to people offering patch files for new code.


I believe clients already have the capability to react to recalls
in one form or another, in the form of cancellations or deletions,
so they can automatically be removed from their queues.

And that could be an alternative method whereby you have a "dump all unstarted WUs" and report that they have been dumped back to the project servers.


... return ... before the deadline and avoid a financial penalty, which doesn't exist in boinc's case!

This is just so beneficial to everyone and logical to me,
I just can't imagine why anyone wants to resist it.

The circumstances are somewhat different to that of a library.

The overhead of reissuing WUs is just the cost of server-side storage and retransmission, a very small cost. This is also a volunteer effort so there cannot be the idea of 'penalties' other than to protect the project from overt abuse.

The present mechanism of reissuing a WU after a timeout is about the best option that I can think of unless you are going to implement some sort of 'heartbeat monitoring'.


My thoughts are that the easiest to implement for those very conscientious participants is the 'dump unstarted WUs' GUI button. However, using "No New Work" earlier would be even more conscientious.


And do not some of the stats sites offer a statistic for pending credit?

Happy crunchin',
Martin

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