Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category
As I write the monthly report for February I’m confronted with our total for the first day of March. A fantastic figure! Our best day ever! And I will write about that next month since this is the report for February.
In the month of February the Atlantic Team racked up 19,539,699 credits so the team PWNED January’s 13,735,366 credits and we are off to a great start for 2013. Everyone is doing a fantastic job, we have no new team members to report.
Personally, I’ve been working through some technical issues trying to get BOINC to recognize my GPU on a regular basis. For a while it seemed ok, then I don’t know what happened. Maybe an update or something (I run LInux) and after that sometimes I’ll boot and BOINC will recognize the GPU, others it won’t. So my personal credits have been pretty low with some spikes when the GPU kicks in.
I found a post at Overclock.net that I though solved the problem by changing the sleep delay. This seemed to solve the problem initially, now I’m back to intermittent GPU functionality. I haven’t had much time lately to dig into it and with Linux you never know when an update might come through that might fix/break the delicate BOINC/GPU balance so it will have to wait till I have more time to sort out a permanent solution.
Team member Adam Yusko still blogs about his experiences crunching BOINC projects at his blog, Crunching for Science.
Distributed computing even got a mention in an article at ZDNet titled: Distributed computing for the greater good which includes a reference to BOINC so perhaps some new crunchers will be joining the cause.
This month, the World Community Grid circulated a survey. If you crunch WCG projects, the survey will be emailed to the account you used to register with WCG. I’m sure they would appreciate it if you take a few minutes to respond.
Thanks to the Atlantic Team members for another record month for 2013. Keep on crunching!
October was a steady month for the team. Cooler weather means some members will allow more run-time for their systems so I expect that as Winter approaches we may see a boost in earned credits. This month we pulled in 4,099,760 credits so we are maintaining momentum on those 4 million credit months. Good job team!
I’m not quite sure what happened on September 23, but it looks like everyone took the day off! This isn’t unusual though since tasks don’t always take the same time to complete and it’s not unusual for results to get pushed out in lumps. This month I re-deployed two Windows systems and one is GPU-enabled so I experienced some down-time while I was re-configuring the OS’s for those systems. However after looking at the monthly total, the GPU’s are great at quickly making up for lost ground and I’ve had the GPU system focused on those tasks since the re-build.
This month myself and other team members were excited to start receiving work on the new World Community Grid GPU projects. Sadly one of my NVIDIA GPU’s is not supported and it doesn’t seem that the Linux systems can take advantage of these tasks either. Perhaps one of my team members had better luck. They are one of the best-managed project hosts and it’s good that WCG has started to offer GPU enabled projects.
Speaking of Linux, I’m currently configuring a system to run CentOS. This Linux distro doesn’t use the same package repositories as the other distros I use so I will have to learn how to install BOINC from the command line. I’ve done a bit of preliminary Google’ing on this and so far there don’t seem to be any tutorials for CentOS though there do seem to be some folks running BOINC on this OS. I’ll have to keep decent notes while I sort it out and perhaps provide my own tutorial in a future blog post.
Atlantic Team member Adam Yusko continues to blog about his experiences using BOINC at his blog Crunching for Science, please visit.
I plan on updating the BOINC links offered on the sidebar of this blog so keep an eye on those. There will be a section specifically for Atlantic Team resources that will list our Facebook page, Google+ page, LinkedIn Group, Website and Twitter feed.
With cool weather coming fast I’m thinking of some kind of team challenge. I realize many members avoid 24/7 operation during the summer due to heat and utility expense issues so perhaps Fall or Winter are good times for a challenge.
Keep on crunching!
Last Thursday I made a presentation about BOINC to the Tidewater Unix Users Group (TWUUG). I had never attended a meeting before, so I figured that the best motivation to get myself out to one was to volunteer to make a presentation. Then I had to go, right?!
Anyway, they are a very friendly group but what surprised me is that nobody had heard of BOINC before. Can you imagine that after all of these years, some folks still don’t know what BOINC is? And these guys are hardcore computer geeks besides!
As you probably guessed, this group consists of Unix/Linux software and hardware enthusiasts, admins and hackers so of course they want to know all of the details about how BOINC works. I did my best to explain, and they also had me execute the TOP command to see how BOINC interacts with the system. They seemed impressed that BOINCs NICE setting was 19 (which means it is a low priority process). In Linux the NICE rating goes from +19 to -20 with a “-” rating indicating higher priority scheduling.
This came up when I was taking them through the Preferences settings and explaining the setting labeled:
“When processor usage is less than [ ] percent (0 means no restriction.)”
Apparently on a Linux system that setting does nothing since it’s the NICE setting that actually determines what priority the application gets. I did not know that.
In the end, the group seemed to approve of the software which is high praise from knowledgeable folks like that. Hopefully we will gain some new crunchers from the encounter. I plan on attending the regular monthly meetings from now on.
Is there a local computer users group in your area? Maybe they would like to hear a presentation about BOINC? An image of the mind map I used for my presentation is here.
I will gladly share the .mm (mind map) file if you have a program that can read it. I use FreeMind which is available from the software repository (GNU/Linux).
The actual .mm file has active hyperlinks to the websites I used in my presentation.
Let’s spread the word about BOINC!
February brought two new team members to the Atlantic team. One of the new recruits brought 986,373 credits which immediately pushed us past 1 million credits. If you follow the Facebook Page, back in May/2011 I put up a graphic showing that the team was originally expected to reach this milestone on 12/04/2014.
I can see that I need to set a new goal for the team. Should it be 5 million or 10 million credits? Let me know.
Since we had such a large influx of credits this month, I’m going to skip presenting the bar graph showing Credit Per Day (CPD) since that has one huge spike that has set every other bar to ground level by scale. Our second highest day of crunching pulled in 12,912 credits which beats our previous high set back in June.
What’s interesting is that often there is no communication from a new member. I’ll log into BOINCStats one day and notice a new name and realize that someone else has joined! I try to give our new team mates a warm welcome, but I don’t always know where they came from. Did they see the Facebook Page, the blog? Sometimes I can see they follow our G+ circle and try to say “HI” to them there.
Up till now I would try to personalize the team by adding their mug shot to our G+ page, but there are only 5 spaces available for pictures there so I’ll have to come up with a new system. Perhaps a “rogues gallery” photo album?
Now let’s take a look at our stats for the month. As you can see, Climate Prediction (CPDN) is getting a very large resource share. In my experience this doesn’t always reflect the actual resource share assigned to a project, it’s usually a coincidence that several tasks were credited in the same time period. Having said that, I would like to encourage my fellow team members to review their settings and make any adjustments that might lead to a more harmonious distribution of project credits. In my early posts I nearly became obsessive regarding the pie chart. I like seeing several pieces, with even resource shares.
By comparison, here is my personal breakdown for February. Look at those nice slices of BOINC pie! Yummy! Now as team leader, I don’t tell the Atlantic team members how to crunch, but if you do support a number of projects I ask that you take a moment to review your resource shares and maybe make a couple of tweaks. I’ve noticed that some projects will generate a lot of tasks while pushing other projects to the background. The BOINC Project Manager does a good job of allocating time, but you still have to provide some direction via the resource share settings at the project website or through whatever site you use as a project manager (e.g. BOINCStats).
At the time of this report, the Atlantic Team provides support for 21 projects, covering all scientific disciplines.
- Climate Prediction
- Collatz Conjecture
- Malaria Control
- SETI@Home Beta
- World Community Grid
This evening, I’m heading to a meeting of a local Unix/Linux user group (TWUUG) to make a presentation about the BOINC Project Manager software. As I was researching my presentation, I came across this information about BOINC:
- Active: 284,466 volunteers, 455,949 computers.
- 24-hour average: 5.813 PetaFLOPS.
By comparison, Jaguar has a peak performance of 2.33 petaFLOPS.
The raggedy band of crunchers who form the backbone of the BOINC community do pretty well stacked up against one of the most powerful computers of the modern era.
I’ve worked up a mind map for my presentation which you can view here.
Hello fellow crunchers! It’s been a while since I posted an update and that’s because everything has been running smoothly. I decided that just wasn’t good enough so I’ve been making some changes to operations on my end.
But first, let’s look at a graph…
As you can see, the daily credits have gown down. I’ve been making some changes to some of the systems that run BOINC projects. On two of the systems, I’ve been experimenting with various Linux distributions (“distros”) and that has caused some disruption in crunching as I fiddled with bootable Linux CD’s and implemented a dual-boot configuration on one of the computers.
Julie, my oldest computer has been offline for a few days. Since she doesn’t have wi-fi capabilities she gets her Internet fix from an Ethernet cable run from the wireless router. I disconnected her temporarily so that I could steal the Ethernet connection for another computer while I was downloading and experimenting with Linux installs. However, today I took a look at her credit history and even though she’s an older Pentium system she’s a steady cruncher so I’ll have her back online today. I’m probably not going to try to convert her to Linux since she has limited memory.
Last week, I made the decision to run Linux Mint 11 on my “main” laptop and I’ve completed the installation and setup. It’s been running smoothly for a few days now and my BOINC projects are now crunching continuously in the background. In a funny twist of fate, my final decision to convert to Linux was given a little push when I deleted the partition where HP had stored my Windows XP restore files. I was trying to clean up partitions made during the Windows/Mint dual-boot configuration. I thought I was getting rid of the Mint swap partition… oops. No matter, before fiddling I did a backup of all my important stuff so the only real loss is the ability to revert the system to Windows XP.
Unfortunately there was a casualty in all of this OS excitement. My old Dell laptop seems to have gone belly up. I was using it to experiment with a dual-boot Mint/Ubuntu system, then converted it back to Windows XP so I would have a legacy system. Apparently the hard drive was on its last legs and its gone and died. From personal experience, and what I’ve been reading online, even if I get the OS reloaded and running it probably will die again soon. So, the Dell has dropped out of the crunching until I install a new HD. This is a little disappointing as I recently upgraded it’s memory to 2GB. Phooey.
My other team members have been crunching away as well so at least the Atlantic Team is still showing some progress. One team member has accumulated a lot of project tasks so I’ve asked her to let her computer run overnight for a couple of nights. Hopefully that will help clear the backlog.
On the social front, I recently discovered that Google+ has a BOINC users circle so I added that. I really like the “circle” design that Google+ uses to manage contacts. It really sets them aside from Facebook and LinkedIn.
Even though I try to find my own answers to my Linux questions I have found that the answers are often distro-specific. Since I’m a total Linux Newb, I don’t have the fundamental knowledge that would make it easier to complete tasks for my specific distro. One thing that probably causes a lot of problems for are the complications you can run into when you install a program. Windows converts will find that they can no longer just double-click an install file and get a program running. Sure, the Software Manager does simplify installation for some programs, but I’ve found that these packages are often out of date. There are also different types of distribution packages and these can be specific to what version of Linux you’re using.
Case in point… even though I’ve successfully installed the BOINC Project Manager I have no idea how to implement the recent upgrade. Nothing I try seems to work. With Windows, I would just download the new .EXE installation program and it would over-write the previous version and settle in nicely with no tweaking. But for now, everything is working and I need to get those little lines on the bar graph going back up so I’ll worry about the upgrade some other time.
If you have a profile on LinkedIn, check out the BOINC Users Group there. On Google+ look for the BOINC users circle and add it to your circles.
Keep on crunching!
Update: From all indications the HD in my Dell laptop was dead. Just for kicks, I installed Mint 11 and the BOINC project manager and it seems to be running fine. I guess the HD just didn’t want to run Windows anymore…