27 January 2013

27th of January

Again hot is the word this week. Mostly in the 30's. As a result the majority of the farm was off although the non-GPU machines got a few days of work done.

Pi stuff
The Pi stayed running throughout this. I have ordered some heatsinks for the Pi. There are 3 components that get hot as you can see from the thermal image below

The USB ports are on the right side and the chip to the left of that is the network/USB controller. As you can see its the hottest, represented by the red colour. The square chip in the center of the board is the CPU. The one on the bottom is a voltage regulator or capacitor.

My 2nd Pi (revision 2, B model) has completed 4 Asteroids@home work units so far. Its averaging 67 hours at the moment. I have its overclock set to "medium" according to Raspi-config. Once the heatsinks arrive and the weather cools off I will look at increasing the overclock.

In case you missed it Daniel Carrion has a blog for the Raspberry Pi. On there he has links to a number of projects science apps compiled for the Pi with the necessary app_info and instructions on how to install them. The link is:
Thank you Daniel for doing these apps.

Suprisingly nobody has a case with fan forced airflow for the Pi. Of the designs I have seen there are aluminium ones, wooden ones, cardboard ones and plastic ones, but none with a fan. They all assume it doesn't get that hot, but if you put your finger on the network/USB chip it will burn you. I might need to come up with a case of my own, ideally holding a number of Raspberry Pis. The nearest one I have seen with multiple Pis is the Lego Supercomputer:

BOINC testing
7.0.45 came out yesterday. There are some tweaks around the work-fetch when excluding GPU's. I will put it on one machine and see how it goes.

Project news - Einstein
They have released a new BRP4 science app that can now use compressed data files. If you are running with an app_info you'll have to go and update it yourself.  The new app is able to handle both compressed and un-compressed data files They don't expect to turn the compressed files on until next week, however once they do it should reduce the downloads significantly.

19 January 2013

19th of January

We had a heatwave this week in Sydney. The temperature made it up to 45 degrees C. I had most of the farm off but left the Raspberry Pi running seeing as it doesn't generate much heat and takes a long time to process work.

Debugging Pi
I also spent a bit of time with the Raspberry Pi trying to work out why the network connection seems to disappear. I think it was caused by a combination of things. I tried different network cables. Nope not that. I tried a different (non-green) switch. No not that either.

I noticed it was using an IPv6 address and while my router supports it all the other machines have IPv6 disabled. To test it I plugged the old router in as it only does IPv4 and suddenly the network seems more stable but still drops out from time to time. I unplugged the powered USB hub and plugged the keyboard and mouse in directly and that seemed to fix that.

Seeing as I couldn't stay running the old router I then went looking for a way to disable IPv6 on the Pi. There is a file /etc/protocols that one can edit, so I commented out anything that mentioned IPv6. Then I plugged the current router back in to test it. All good.

To find out what address your Pi is using at a command prompt type: ip -d addr
To quickly test the network connection I just did: ping google.com

Just to make sure I also put the SD card into the older revision 1 model B and it too stayed working, so it looks like there is nothing wrong with it after all.

I still need to work out why IPv6 doesn't work on my network seeing as the router supposedly supports it, but it isn't urgent as my proxy server software is rather old and doesn't do IPv6 anyway - something else I need to look at updating.

13 January 2013

2013 reorg part 1

Spent the weekend reorganising things for the non-GPU group of machines. This is the outcome

On the left shelving unit the bottom beige box is a UPS. The white machine above it is the file server, with the Drobo FS on top. The other two shelving units have the non-GPU machines. Their specs:

  • Asus P8Z77-V LE motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-3770 @3.4Ghz
  • 8Gb of Kingston DDR3 memory @ 1600Mhz
  • 320Gb HDD (out of old Core2Quad)
  • DVD-ROM (also out of Core2Quad)
  • Seasonic 500 watt power supply (from Core2Quad)
  • Fractal designs Arc Midi case
As you can see we used what we could from the old Core2Quad's that these machines replaced. You can also see the KVM and monitor.

They released their app for the Raspberry Pi. The work units take an estimated 76 hours at stock speed (700Mhz). I have one crunching away at the moment and hopefully it will be done by the end of this week. I also did a modest overclock to 800Mhz.

Einstein@home passes 1 petaflop
Sometime shortly after January 1st 2013, Einstein@Home passed the 1 Petaflop computing-power barrier. To put this in context, according to the current Top-500 computing list (dated November 2012) there are only 23 computers that deliver this much computing power.

One Petaflop is 1,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second.

11 January 2013

11th of January 2013

My first post for 2013.

Farm news
Not much happening on the farm due to the weather. Well thats not true, there isn't much crunching happening. There is however some reorganisation going on.

We had a really hot day during this week where the temperature got up to 42 degrees. That caused a lot of bush fires, some of which are still burning. More hot weather is forecast for next week.

I picked up a 2nd hand KVM just before the new year. I got a bunch of network cables as I didn't have enough long ones and all the short ones were in use. Some are colored so I can tell which cables are running the switches. I also got some more of the chrome wire shelving units to put machines on.

The idea is to have the GPU-less machines over on one side of the room on shelves with their own KVM. The GPU ones will be on the opposite side of the room (they already have shelves) along with their own KVM. They take up more space because the cases are much larger, being designed for high airflow.

This reorg has forced me to get rid of a lot of old boxes and useless clutter to make room. I am still doing this, having filled up the garbage bin for a few weeks running and still have more stuff to dispose of. There is a nice pile sitting in the middle of the lounge room floor.

Remember the KFSN4 motherboard that I couldn't get to work? Well I gave it to one of the guys at work and he has managed to get it going. He thinks I had the memory in the wrong slots. I had it working at one point but when I went to put it back into its case it refused to work.

Raspberry Pi
The 1st Pi that I ordered finally turned up. I only ordered it in August 2012. Its a B model, revision 2 and seems to work. It also seems to boot up a bit quicker than the old one, probably because it doesn't have to swap things out of memory.

I will now try and get the broken one replaced under warranty. Fortunately it was purchased in Australia so it has a 12 month warranty.

I still haven't got any BOINC apps on it yet as I was trying to work out why the 256Mb one wasn't working. I thought it might have been the SD card image or that I had stuffed up the Raspbian OS. I have proven that wrong by running the newer one using the SD card from the old Pi.