28 March 2013

Parallella design files shipped to manufacturer!

This is the Parallella board that we're all waiting for.

In their latest update they said:

"It took longer than expected, but the first revision of the Parallella board has been sent off to the manufacturer and we will have the first 10 Parallella boards built up and ready for testing by April 15th!"

We will see if they get them ready by April 15th. While I was a backer in the Kickstarter project I expect I am further down the order for the boards as they come off the production line - I didn't pledge that much. However it will be interesting to see what these things can do from a BOINC or number crunching point of view.

24 March 2013

24th of March

Just a quick update. The Seti and BOINC project computers will be moving to a co-location facility elsewhere on the Berkeley campus. That means both projects will be unavailable. They expect this to happen on Monday the 1st of April and to take 3 days to complete. Hopefully its not an April fools day joke.

Hopefully this will allow the project staff to concentrate more on the science and less on running machines. It may also give them access to a higher speed network connection in the future.

20 March 2013

20th of March

Not a great deal to report for the last fortnight. The weather is still warm but we had a couple of cool days where I had various machines running, at one point I had all the Intel-GPU machines plus the dual GTX660 machine running.

The Pi's are still crunching away for Albert and Asteroids.

Albert@home have started a test of a new FGRP OpenCL app. The current FGRP app is a CPU app so this is allowing GPU's to assist. It still spends a lot of time using the CPU so you'll need to dedicate a CPU core but as they tune the app this should improve. Its for ATI/AMD cards only at this point.

Asteroids@home have release an app for Android on ARM processors. They are the first project to officially support Android devices.

Seti network congestion
As previously reported their network connection is running at its 100 Mbit limit almost continuously. It seems there is a registry setting in Windows where you can enable a TCP option to improve performance on such connections. This option was suggested in May 1992. Unfortunately Windows doesn't have this option turned on by default but Linux and OSX do. For more information search for "RFC 1323".

To add the registry key cut the command below and paste it at a Windows command prompt. Make sure you do a "run as administrator". After doing this you'll need to reboot for it to take effect.

REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters" /v "Tcp1323Opts" /t REG_DWORD /d 3

BOINC testing
We got 7.0.56 this week. just some minor fixes but nothing noticeable from my side. This is a release candidate, although there have been a couple of fixes done since.

I still haven't convinced Dr Anderson that it doesn't honour resource shares despite providing some log files. It is doing this on 5 of my machines and seems fairly consistent. Its doing the exact opposite of the client emulator scenario that I ran.

There is an official port of BOINC 7.0.56 to run on Android. I don't have any Android devices so I haven't tried it.

03 March 2013

3rd of March

This weekend was windy and wet. Ideal weather for the crunchers really. I managed to fire up the GPUgrid crunchers for a few days as well as having the Intel-GPU machines going.
GPUgrid have some rather long work units in their long queue that have been keeping my GTX670's busy. The uploads haven't reduced in size yet, apparently they need to turn on a parameter on the server side the next time they create work units before it will take effect.
After a bit more experimenting with BoincTasks and the Raspberry Pi I have revised the instructions a bit. It seems you don't need to provide a password (well at least with BOINC 7.0.27 which is the version in the repo).
My faulty Pi was returned to element 14 who have issued a credit. Now all I need to do is buy another one.
Remember them, they have been making progress on their boards. They are similar to the Raspberry Pi except they contain a dual-core ARM processor and the Epiphany chip. They have 16 and 64 core versions of the Epiphany chip which is OpenCL capable. They are targetting a price of $100 for the 16 core version. Last week they released their documentation and a couple of weeks ago they released the source code for their OpenCL driver. The boards themselves have been finalised and now they are getting them produced in quantity
Setting up BoincTasks talking to a Raspberry Pi
  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 the host name of the BT machine into /var/lib/boinc-client/remote_hosts.cfg
  3. Restart the Pi to pick up the above changes
  4. 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 leave the password blank.

Points to note:
  • 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.
  • 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. You may want to use static IP addressing

And here we have the makings of our own (rather slow) super computer running BOINC. Each node (Raspberry Pi) can be controlled via BoincTasks.