Bad News on BOINC funding

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Message 1698251 - Posted: 3 Jul 2015, 19:53:01 UTC

Was posted on Bitcoin Utopia:

BOINC's funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation has ended,
at least for the time being.
This funding supported me, Rom Walton, and Charlie Fenton.
We're now working on other things,
although we'll stay involved in BOINC at some level.

The BOINC project will continue, and will be run according to
a community-based model rather than centrally.
In essence, the people who contribute to BOINC now make the decisions about it.
This model is summarized here:
http://boinc.berkeley.edu/trac/wiki/ProjectGovernance
and described in detail here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C6pU5RqidYBxk9oyAevm1yH1tn4Hw27oM8YpvsnR-gg

There will probably be little visible change.
The BOINC software will continue to work.
The translation system, Alpha testing project, BOINC web site,
message boards, and email lists will continue to operate.
However, any new development and major bug fixes to BOINC
will need to be done by volunteer programmers.
I'm confident that the BOINC community will meet the challenge.

I welcome your feedback.
Please post it to boinc_admin@googlegroups.com,
a new email list for discussions about the BOINC project as a whole.

-- David



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Message 1698259 - Posted: 3 Jul 2015, 20:27:05 UTC

Hallelujah, the cat is finally out of the bag. I've known about this since April and it has been very difficult for me to answer some posts on the various forums in which people asked for bug fixes or enhancements/additional add-ons. Most of the time I went and ignored them, because I wasn't allowed to breathe anything about this pending doom. :-/
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Message 1698294 - Posted: 3 Jul 2015, 22:02:22 UTC

While the news on funding isn't good. This isn't on the whole bad news.

Having community driven development structure has been shown to work pretty well in several software development projects. I imagine it may time some time for others to become failure with the server side of BOINC. Given that, other than the BOINC devs, only project admins & the curious would have bothered to look under the hood.
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Message 1698332 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 1:31:03 UTC

SO THERE...THE KITTIES JUST TOSSED A C NOTE INTO THE POT.
i PUT MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS, KIDS.
i HAVE DONE SO MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS.

mEOW.
A kitty keeps loneliness away.
More meowing, less hissing. I speak meow, do you?

Have made friends in this life.
Most were cats.
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Message 1698369 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 4:48:24 UTC - in response to Message 1698259.  

Hallelujah, the cat is finally out of the bag. I've known about this since April and it has been very difficult for me to answer some posts on the various forums in which people asked for bug fixes or enhancements/additional add-ons. Most of the time I went and ignored them, because I wasn't allowed to breathe anything about this pending doom. :-/


Jord-I feel you should've been allowed to tell people sooner or someone should have. However it is what it is.

Thank you for the information


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Message 1698371 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 4:56:58 UTC - in response to Message 1698369.  

Well there are some of us that saw things not going right without being told.

I've recommended a few of the top Boinc experts to start looking at the Boinc's recommendations toward community development, and provided them somewhere to keep track of any dialog they have.

I'm hopeful if they can get past the doomsday prophecies and panic, they'll find a way to embrace the change, and take things in new directions. Could be a good thing.
"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message 1698391 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 5:57:39 UTC

I gues I will ask a big question.
How big of a hole does this "temporary" I hope lack of funding cause to any remaining budget?

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Message 1698401 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 7:20:18 UTC

Seti@Home started the ball rolling, we can always go back to 'Classic'... :)
Noli tangere circulos meos...
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Message 1698406 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 8:10:19 UTC

Hold on here. Isn't it the case that it is funding for Boinc development that is ceasing. Seti@home which is a project running under the Boinc umbrella, is still being funded and is a separate issue.

Or am I wrong?
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Message 1698407 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 8:14:16 UTC - in response to Message 1698251.  

That is disappointing news. Was the funding cut or just expired? After running Seti@Home for around 15 years, I had hoped something would have been discovered by now. Well, I hope it can continue for a few more years.
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Message 1698411 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 8:41:09 UTC - in response to Message 1698406.  

Hold on here. Isn't it the case that it is funding for Boinc development that is ceasing. Seti@home which is a project running under the Boinc umbrella, is still being funded and is a separate issue.

Or am I wrong?

Agreed, there is no point doing a funding drive to Seti in the hope of them doing Boinc development, they already don't have the spare time, Support the volunteer programmers that will be submitting patches and doing Boinc development instead:

There will probably be little visible change.
The BOINC software will continue to work.
The translation system, Alpha testing project, BOINC web site,message boards, and email lists will continue to operate.
However, any new development and major bug fixes to BOINC will need to be done by volunteer programmers.
I'm confident that the BOINC community will meet the challenge.


Claggy
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Message 1698417 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 9:07:47 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jul 2015, 9:22:32 UTC

Interesting set of emotions reading the [BOINC development] governance document myself.

I'm particularly curious about why, given the basically clean slate opportunity, a multilevel committee based structure has been chosen, when the bulk of the software development industry has been working for more than 15 years toward leaner Agile development practices. go figure.
"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message 1698420 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 10:10:56 UTC - in response to Message 1698407.  
Last modified: 4 Jul 2015, 10:44:14 UTC

That is disappointing news. Was the funding cut or just expired? After running Seti@Home for around 15 years, I had hoped something would have been discovered by now. Well, I hope it can continue for a few more years.

Please be careful, folks. This thread is about funding for * BOINC *, and only BOINC: SETI is just one of probably over 100 scientific projects around the world which use the BOINC-developed infrastructure for their own purposes. The software exists, it works (I know, I know, we would all like it to work better), it'll go on working, and we can go on using it.

With regard to the BOINC funding: it expired. Actually, according to the record, it expired some time ago: they must have been running on fumes.

Until yesterday, the BOINC home page said "BOINC is supported by the National Science Foundation through awards ..."

I've dug through the NSF archives and pulled out

		Start Date		End Date		Awarded Amount to Date
SCI-0221529	October 1, 2002		September 30, 2005	$911,264.00
SCI-0438443	January 1, 2005		December 31, 2006	$711,538.00
SCI-0506411	September 1, 2005	August 31, 2009		$198,720.00
PHY/0555655	August 15, 2006		July 31, 2011		$998,862.00 *
OCI-0721124	September 15, 2007	August 31, 2012		$1,320,000.00
								-------------
Total NSF funding to date					$4,140,384.00

* Sponsored by Einstein@Home (Principal Investigator Bruce Allen)

Edit - maybe I should have listed these two as well, although BOINC itself didn't claim them.

http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1105572
http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1148523

That would add another $1,648,546 to the pot.
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Message 1698422 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 10:37:24 UTC

Thank you very much for setting the record straight Richard. I think that many people get confused and think that seti=Boinc and vice versa. Seti@home will continue on under the Boinc umbrella, as it currently is, there is no need whatsoever for people to leave seti@home thinking erroneously that the project has died. It hasn't!!
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Message 1698424 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:13:19 UTC - in response to Message 1698420.  

That would add another $1,648,546 to the pot.


Look I'm really sorry if it bursts anyone's bubble, but in the engineering scheme of things that's nothing more than a token gesture. Busy work.
"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message 1698426 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:16:36 UTC - in response to Message 1698424.  

That would add another $1,648,546 to the pot.

Look I'm really sorry if it bursts anyone's bubble, but in the engineering scheme of things that's nothing more than a token gesture. Busy work.

I just like my analyses to be complete, don't want to be accused of selling either BOINC or the NSF short. Even though BOINC sold itself short.
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Message 1698427 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:16:53 UTC

Let me also add: it's just the BOINC developers whose monthly income has dried up. Which means that Rom (Walton) and Charlie (Fenton) had to go look for new work.

Rom's latest plans I heard of was that he was going to work for World Community Grid/IBM.
Charlie is still available for bug-fixes and specific Mac questions, but otherwise no longer attached to BOINC.
David still works at SSL and will continue to be the director of Seti.

As far as I understand, BOINC 7.6 will still be released to the public within a couple of days or weeks. After that the development of both the client and the back-end will fall to anyone who wants to contribute: https://boinc.berkeley.edu/trac/wiki/ContributePage.

The only thing is, before any changes can be made, the PMC must converse about that and decide if they want BOINC to go in that direction. The PMC decides this about everything, from how the documentation looks like, to what the GUI should look like, to what can be done in the forums, to the inner workings of the client. Aside from the frustration that adds --I've run into one or two of them already-- best take my advice and shrug at it. It's like the past where David said he would or wouldn't add it, but this time times eight. Good luck in your fights.
Jord

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Message 1698429 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:21:00 UTC - in response to Message 1698426.  

That would add another $1,648,546 to the pot.

Look I'm really sorry if it bursts anyone's bubble, but in the engineering scheme of things that's nothing more than a token gesture. Busy work.

I just like my analyses to be complete, don't want to be accused of selling either BOINC or the NSF short. Even though BOINC sold itself short.


Well no-one without funding is going to accuse you of jack :) The point is more that now the management laundry is aired, perhaps there's a chance of something more inclusive being developed.
"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message 1698430 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:24:29 UTC

Before you ask "what about crowd-funding", it was one of the first things I asked David when I got the news. He answered me:

That would be a last resort.
The main beneficiary of volunteer computing is government-funded science research.
We save these funding agencies (like NSF) many millions of dollars, so logically they should fund us.

Also, Rom and I are expensive, and it's not likely that crowd-funding would
produce enough to support us.

Jord

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Message 1698431 - Posted: 4 Jul 2015, 11:26:49 UTC - in response to Message 1698427.  

The only thing is, before any changes can be made, the PMC must converse about that and decide if they want BOINC to go in that direction. The PMC decides this about everything, from how the documentation looks like, to what the GUI should look like, to what can be done in the forums, to the inner workings of the client. Aside from the frustration that adds --I've run into one or two of them already-- best take my advice and shrug at it. It's like the past where David said he would or wouldn't add it, but this time times eight. Good luck in your fights.


That's the feeling I got from the document, which is arguably narcissistic in construct.
"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message boards : Number crunching : Bad News on BOINC funding


 
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