24 February 2013

24th of February

A flurry of activity on Saturday on the farm. The temp dropped a bit so I fired up the two GPUgrid crunchers and had them going until lunch time Sunday when it got too hot again. I left a couple of the Intel GPU machines running all weekend so they are making a bit of a contribution to Asteroids and Einstein.

BOINC testing
On the 13th of February we got 7.0.52. Nothing major, just some tweaks around GPU starvation when they are excluded from projects.

I am seeing some strangeness where it seems to favor the project with the lower resource share rather than the one with the highest share. That means I will have to run some logs and post them to the mailing list and also setup a simulation for the developers.

Pi news
The Pi's just get left running, I don't spend much time checking on them.

In my post of the 21st of February I explained how to setup BoincTasks so that it can talk to the Pi. I also got them talking to my proxy server. See details below.

Daniel Carrion posted a comment on my 21st of February post regarding SubsetSum where he has apps available for them via his blog.

Proxy server and Pi
The process went like this:

1. Make sure /etc/hosts has an entry for the proxy server. You'll need the IP address and hostname.

2. Add the following lines to the file /etc/environment
export http_proxy="http://proxyhost:port"

3. Create a new file in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/ and name it "10proxy"; put inside
Acquire::http::Proxy "http://proxyhost:port"

Where proxyhost is the name of your proxy server and port is the port number its using.

21 February 2013

21st of February

Well last week was a bit cooler and I managed to have all the Intel-GPU machines running for about 3 days straight. This week is back to being hot so they are off again.

The Pi's have been running regardless of the weather. In fact the two new ones turned up on Monday this week. I got one of them going on the Monday and the other on Tuesday. At present 3 of the Pi's are running Albert@home and the other 2 are running Asteroids@home tasks.

From the screen shot you can see where I have added one of the Pi's to BoincTasks. I haven't updated the others yet

Setting up BoincTasks talking to a Raspberry Pi
BoincTasks is designed to monitor a number of machines. Unfortunately its a Windows app and so getting it talking to the Raspberry Pi's is not the simplest of things to do. I assume that you've managed to get BOINC running on the Pi and BoincTasks (BT) is also running on your Windows PC.

  1. On the Pi you'll need to put the IP address and host name of the BT machine into /etc/hosts
  2. On the Pi you'll need to put a password into /var/lib/boinc-client/gui_rpc_auth.cfg
  3. On the Pi you'll need to put the host name of the BT machine into /var/lib/boinc-client/remote_hosts.cfg
  4. Restart the Pi to pick up the above changes
  5. In BT (on your PC) you need to add the Pi. Click on the Computers tab and then on the Menu Bar Computers -> Add Computer. You need to use the IP address (not the host name) of the Pi and the password from point 2.

Points to note:
  • If you installed the boinc-manager on the Pi it will no longer be able to connect to the boinc-client. This is because it doesn't know the password. You can execute it manually and supply the password from a command prompt if you still want to use it, but you now have BT working so why would you need it?
  • The Pi is invisible to the windows PC's on the network. The router will usually be able to see all of them but the windows machines only show other windows machines. The Pi's don't seem to have visibility of anything else on the network.
  • Due to the 2nd point the Pi needs to have the IP address and host name of the BT machine in the hosts file. This is not good practice as IP addresses can and do frequently change.

I will see if the guys in the Raspberry Pi forums know how to work around these networking issues.

09 February 2013

9th of February

And here are the Raspberry Pi's. Not the best way to put them but until I organise a suitable case this is how they are running. I have two of them running Albert@home work and the 3rd is running Asteroids work at the moment. Once the apps have moved from beta test (on Albert) to the main project (Einstein) then they will transition over to there. The Albert work units are taking 48 hours to complete.

Daniel Carrion left a comment on last weeks blog regarding power supplies. Sure Electronics make 5 volt power supplies in 3A, 10A and 20A capacities. You can buy them on eBay. This would suit a setup of multiple Pi's (they call them a Bramble) where you don't want lots of power packs. There is some wiring required.


I have returned the revision 1 B model as faulty. It cost $10 just to post it back, probably would have been cheaper just to throw it away. While I was at it I have ordered another two Pi's.

Meanwhile in other news the farm has been off most of the week again. They get a quick burst of activity when its cooler and then off again.

BOINC testing
We got 7.0.48 this week. Just a few minor tweaks around the installer. It has issues with PAE (or service installs) under Windows, if your run it that way you'd better wait for another release.

There is also a 7.0.50 for the Android out. This is very much a work in progress. There are some issues about battery overheating they need to address, and of course the devices are usually even slower than the raspberry Pi.

02 February 2013

2nd of February

So after a warm week yesterday cooled off and we had a howling wind. Great for the farm though. I fired up the non-GPU cluster of machines and the GPUgrid crunchers.

Seeing as the GPUgrid crunchers have been off for a while they immediately went into high priority mode thinking that they wouldn't be able to complete the work in time. Now they are 75% through they have decided they don't need high priority. Hopefully I can get a few work units out before the weather warms up again.

BOINC news
We got up to 7.0.47 this week. Nothing major in this, mostly cosmetic changes and some tweaks to messages, etc. I have it installed on two machines, one non-GPU and one with a GPU. Actually the term non-GPU is not correct, they all have Intel GPU's integrated on the CPU chip.

Pi news
The 1st Raspberry Pi that I got is still having issues so I have put in a request to replace it with the supplier (Element 14) in Sydney. In the mean time I have ordered two more Raspberry Pies. I have some vague idea that I would like to make a small cluster of them and use Beowulf or HTCondor if I can find a version that will run on them. I know I can run BOINC on each one of them but what would be nice if I could get BOINC to submit work requests to the cluster.

I have also been looking around for cases and power supplies. There doesn't seem to be anything out there for multiple Pi machines.

While searching I did come across one setup where they are emulating a MicroVAX 3900 on the Raspberry Pi and its running OpenVMS. They had two of them clustered together. The link is:

My one working Pi is currently trying out Albert@home work. This is the beta test project for Einstein@home. They are testing smaller size work units just for the Pi and an optimised science application. Its currently about 75% through its first work unit and looks like its going to be about 3 days per work unit. This is on a "medium" overclock as set by Raspi-config.