28 December 2008
BOINC 6.4.5 also has some issues and shows that it isn't quite ready for CUDA, although it detects and can assign work to the graphics card. It needs some work around scheduling of tasks and cannot currently run a cpu and a gpu version of the same science application.
Just to keep the graphics card warm I have joined GPUGRID. Their application seems to work fine, and keeps the gpu busy for hours on end. A typical work unit takes my 9800GT card between 8 and 10 hours. The only thing I don't like is they have very short deadlines, typically 3 or 4 days.
I managed to hit 2.5 million credits for Seti and 3.5 million credits overall. I am not treating them as a milestone as I am aiming to get Einstein up to 1 million. If all the machines were running it would take about 5 days to get there, but they are all switched off at the moment due to the heat - Current loft temperature is 30 degrees.
26 December 2008
As the ACER power supply isn't grunty enough and only has SATA power connectors I had to upgrade it too. As you can see from the picture this is a Seasonic M12 mark II, rated at 500 watts.
Here is a picture of the card and the power supply installed in Qui-Gon. I also added the case fan seeing as it now generates even more heat.
And here is another shot of the innards of Qui-Gon
And lastly I got a few Star Wars figurines. Naturally I got the ones that belong with the computer names, so here is Qui-Gon Jinn sitting on top of himself.
21 December 2008
It needs a CPU to "feed" the GPU, so it runs as 3 cpu tasks + 1 gpu task at a time on my quad core machine. Below is a screen shot of it running a Seti multi-beam work unit on the gpu.
This is a screen shot of the temperature utility for the graphics card, showing its getting a work out.
18 December 2008
The Seti guys have released the CUDA application. So now its official. I will have to sort out the appropiate power adapter cable for the video card pretty soon. I will be installing the CUDA aware version of BOINC on Qui Gon in anticipation of getting the video card working.
17 December 2008
I shut it down yesterday, opened it up to check the power connectors as the video card requires a seperate power cable. Qui Gon has SATA power connectors and the supplied adaptor cable is for molex connectors. So I closed it up without doing anything to it, plugged it in and now it won't power up at all. I have booked a service call with ACER. They have already failed their own benchmark of contacting me within 4 business hours.
12 December 2008
I haven't reached any milestones recently, although Einstein is closing in on 1 million credits.
My father passed away last weekend.
23 November 2008
As they finished off their old Seti work I have uploaded the results, reported them, shutdown BOINC, updated app_info, removed older apps, put new apps in place, restarted BOINC, allowed new work and told it to update project. Repeat 5 times quickly to cover the entire farm.
The machines have now returned a few results and it shows a good increase. Astropulse 4.35 was taking 20-21 hours to complete a work unit. Astropulse 5.00 is taking 16-17 hours to do the same work. Once again a great effort from the optimizers.
21 November 2008
A new version of the Astropulse application was released last weekend, so i'm running the cache down to clear out all the Seti work and will install it on all the machines once they have cleared their current work.
11 November 2008
31 October 2008
I have reduced the work unit cache down to 1 day so I don't have as much work, seeing as the machines aren't running 24/7 at the moment. Its only spring. I hate to think what summer is going to be like.
Oh and the Microsoft keyboard on the KVM switch gave up. Half the keys don't register any more, so I had to replace it. They just don't make them like they used to.
I am closing in on 3 million credits for all projects, so if I can keep the machines running maybe I will get there in about 8 to 10 days.
19 October 2008
Yoda has been running the CPU fan flat out for the last 3 weeks or so. I checked the BIOS which displays the core temps and it wasn't reading the fan speed at all, so I decided to open it up. I thought it might be clogged with dust and fluff but there was nothing to see. Now it won't power up at all. It just beeps constantly. It looks like I will have to make a call tomorrow to see just how good the ACER 3 year on-site really is.
Rang ACER tech support and got position 42 in the queue, so hung up. Yoda seems to be back working so I suspect its the intruder detection, even through its disabled in the BIOS. It still runs hot but i'll leave it for the time being.
I will post some pics when I have reorganized the farm as its just sitting in the middle of the floor at the moment. The "farm" now consists of 5 quad core machines.
I need to get myself another KVM switch then it can share a screen and keyboard. I also need a longer network cable (which is why its sitting in the middle of the floor). And just to tidy things up I will probably get another shelving kit.
18 October 2008
I have now set the machines to allow work for the other projects so things can return to normal. Tomorrow is forecast to be another hot day so I will probably power-down the farm when the loft gets too hot.
15 October 2008
I put the files in their directory and had to edit a small XML file that tells BOINC what programs to use. I made the mistake of opening the sample one provided using Internet Explorer and doing a cut and paste. I put the appropiate bit into my existing XML file and restarted BOINC. BOINC immediately trashed all my Astropulse work. I tried the same on a second machine and it too trashed all its Astropulse work.
I left a message on the Seti@Home message boards. I was pointed in the right direction within a few hours. It tuns out Internet Explorer adds a space before the trailing / within a
Normally Astropulse work units take me 40-41 hours to process. They now take 20-21 hours. Now thats some speed improvement! A big thankyou to Raistmer & Jason G for building this optimized application and also to JD Whale, Josef W. Segur, Urs Echternacht & Richard Haselgrove.
The Einstein@home guys have also released an optimized application that is somewhat faster than the previous version - around 20 to 25% faster, so I took the opportunity to update all the machines with it while I was at it.
08 October 2008
I have reached 1.9 million credits on Seti so I have set the other projects to not collect any new work for the time being. This should allow me to ramp up Seti output so I can crack 2 million credits. My estimate is about 10 days to get there.
01 October 2008
I've been experimenting with a 3rd party program called BOINC view as you can see from the screen shot. Basically it allows you to remotely access the machines running BOINC and manage them. All in all a very useful tool for managing a farm.
In the screen shot above you can see that I have selected Yoda and can see what work it has done (in blue), what it is currently running (in green) and what work it has queued up but has yet to start.
20 September 2008
Orbit has started resends of work units and two of my machines have picked them up. I will try and leave them running as long as possible so that they can be completed fairly quickly, well as quickly as you can for a 300+ hour work unit.
The guys over at Seti have started churning out lots of Astropulse work units, which usually take me 40+ hours to process. One of my machines was running 3 at the same time.
13 September 2008
Its not hard to upgrade the machines, just takes a bit of time to do each of them. While I was at it I took the opportunity to apply windows patches, delete log files and defrag the hard disks.
The basic software on my crunching machines is Windows XP Pro and BOINC. For Seti I also use the optimised application (AK_v8). Both Einstein and Orbit are running the "stock" application provided by the project.
This upgrade is more for future use than anything else. Its possible the file server may also become a BOINC storage server, although I am not aware of any projects currently using them. More likely, if the BOINC developers ever get around to writing it, a Superhost.
Here is a link decribing the Superhost idea http://boinc.berkeley.edu/trac/wiki/SuperHost
09 September 2008
My ISP seems to be having some troubles recently and the internet connection has been dropping out. I have to reset my router to get it going again. This is compounded by the fact the BOINC machines are only allowed to connect to the internet during my ISP's off-peak hours (6 hours per day) and if the connection has dropped out I usually don't find out about it until the next day.
29 August 2008
Suprisingly the Acers didn't have the option to select 1680 x 1050 resolution and they are less than a year old. I spent a bit of time on the Intel website searching for an updated video chipset driver. Installed it on each of the 4 machines and now I have a nice crisp wide screen display.
Finally a piece of hardware that works straight out of the box - unlike my KFSN4.
This is a Boinc Manager screen showing the various tasks.
26 August 2008
23 August 2008
I got the 8 core AMD machine up and running for a short while before totally stuffing it up. Its even managed to download 34 Seti work units that it started. Hopefully I can fix it up before the work units hit their deadline. See my KFSN4 blog for details.
19 August 2008
Click on the following link... http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/
13 August 2008
The front of the envelope had "If undelivered return to PO Box xxx, Malmo, Sweden" printed on it. I wonder if thats where the other ones went?
12 August 2008
Fortunately I also do Einstein work so its been getting a boost until Seti sort out their woes. Orbit doesn't have any work either.
08 August 2008
04 August 2008
Today Einstein is back up and handing out work as well as Seti getting back on top of things. All the machines are back crunching and all of them seem to have scored new Astropulse work units from Seti as well (they take around 40 hours to crunch).
Orbit on the other hand seems to have gone quiet with no sign of new work for the last 3 weeks. This is probably just as well as the last lot of work units took around 12 and 1/2 days each.
Rumour has it that my dual cpu motherboard has been repaired and is on its way back (even though I wanted to go and collect it). If this is the case it may eventually get to do some processing (just when Intel starts shipping their Nehalem processor).
02 August 2008
20 July 2008
This latest addition brings the farm up to 4 quad-core machines. They are all Intel core 2 quad Q6600's running at 2.4Ghz with 2Gb of RAM.
The new machine is on the bottom at the front and is called Luke Skywalker (in keeping with the tradition of naming them after Jedi knights).
Einstein at home is coming to a close with its current run (S5R3) so I will cease doing Einstein work in a weeks time, until S5R4 starts up. When it changes a new science application will be required.
12 July 2008
If you have seen the movie Deep Impact or similar, even if you discount the hollywood dramatics, you'll realise what a mess a big rock can cause if it crashes into the earth. Anything that can help search for them has to be a worthy cause.
My home-build computer is dead as a dodo, so there is a bit of a delay in getting pictures of it up. I started a seperate blog for it here: http://kfsn4.blogspot.com/
17 June 2008
07 June 2008
05 June 2008
I have ordered bits to make a dual cpu machine. Some have been delivered and others back ordered. I will post some pictures as I proceed with construction.
31 May 2008
11 May 2008
I brought a shelving kit to stack some of the PC's on. Kind of a poor mans rack system.
It was done to try and tidy things up a bit and allow better air flow for the machines. A side effect is that I could throw a few more machines in the same space now.
10 May 2008
06 May 2008
You can see the 3 quad core machines that do most of the number crunching. There is an old Dell on the left of the table. At the bottom is an ancient desk fan to help with cooling.
The 3 quaddies have names of course. Going from left to right they are Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Qui Gon Jinn.
Current BOINC projects are Seti and Einstein.
Einstein is a program that uses your computer's idle time to search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors.
The mission of orbit@home is to apply distributed computing to the study of Solar System dynamics. At first, we will focus on Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) research, focusing into:
- NEA search strategies and
- NEA impact hazard monitoring
SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.
As you can see all the BOINC projects that I am running are astronomy related. There are many more projects, but these are the ones that I am participating in. Feel free to leave a comment.