31 October 2008

Too hot

The farm has been switched off twice this week due to the heat. The first time at the beginning of the week it was off for 2 days. Today I turned all the machines off in the morning, but by the time I got home things had cooled down, so I powered-up the farm and off we go again.

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

Spoke too soon

Looks like I spoke too soon about there being 5 machines. The new machine (Anakin) is working fine but Yoda has given up the ghost.

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.

And then there were 5

I bought myself another quad core machine about 3 weeks ago. I finally got it out of the box this weekend. I spent a few hours getting it ready, getting the crap off it that vendors supply, updating windows, etc. It has been crunching some Seti work to start with, but now has joined my usual 3 projects.

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

Seti 2 million

I finally got to 2 million credits for Seti@home. Below you can see the certificate. It looks like my estimate of 10 days was spot on.

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

A little AP drama

The guys over at Seti@home have managed to come up with an optimized version of the Astropulse application. As I already use the optimized application for normal seti work units I didn't think twice about installing it.

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 tag, which BOINC doesn't understand so it trashes all the work units.

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

October musings

Nothing much to report at the moment. Last week had a couple of hot days so I had the farm turned off for 2 days ("the farm" is in a loft which got up to 33 degrees). The weather has been a bit cooler this week so all machines are running now.

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

BOINC view

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.