30 April 2014

30th of April

Farm news
The entire Intel GPU cluster are still crunching CPDN work. They have plenty of work available for the ANZ models that I am currently concentrating on.

I upgraded a couple of the Raspberry Pi's to Debian Jessie and they appear to be working fine so far. See my previous blog post about the process I used.

I got a couple of Windows XP updates yesterday, which is well after the end of XP support. Not sure if Microsoft had a change of heart or not. There is a bug being reported for Internet Explorer that effects all versions, but we don't think Microsoft will release a fix for XP. I use Chrome on the remaining XP boxes anyway. You can't actually remove IE as its so imbedded into the operating system. You can use other browsers and make then the default of course.

Parallella news
Update 23 earlier this week told us they had shipped up to backer 2,999 and expected the remaining board to go out within a week. They have finished assembling all boards. They also showed a photo of an Epiphany 64 coprocessor equipped board.

Yesterday I got a shipping notification from them, so hopefully I will have mine soon. Its only been about 2 years since I backed the project on KickStarter.

The volunteer working on a Parallella application for Einstein is struggling to use the Epiphany coprocessor. Unfortunately it lacks the memory to do the FFT (Fast Fourier Transforms) that the project use. It looks like it will only be able to make use of the dual core ARM processor for number crunching.

25 April 2014

25th of April

Its ANZAC day here in Australia.

Farm news
Crunching of CPDN work continues. I keep getting stuck uploads that I have to use the dial-up to get them unstuck. It gets a bit time consuming but better than wasting 110 hours of computing.

RPi upgrade
I did another attempt at upgrading one of the Raspberry Pi's from Debian Wheezy to Debian Jessie (the testing release). This time seems to have been a success and its got BOINC 7.2.42 running on it from the repository.

The process I used was:
1. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and change it to read:
deb http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org/raspbian/ jessie main contrib non-free rpi
2. Do a sudo apt-get update command
3. Get a cup of tea while it updates the list of packages
4. Do a sudo apt-get dist-upgrade command
5. Make a pot of tea and drink it
6. Do a sudo apt-get autoremove command
7. Do a sudo apt-get autoclean command

The dist-upgrade took me around an hour with a few questions as it goes along. The last time I tried this I got stuck on one of the questions, this time I took the defaults. You don't actually have to do steps 6 and 7, its simply to free up space by getting rid of the old packages.

I took a snapshot of the SD card before doing the upgrade so if it goes horribly wrong at least you can reimage the SD card. Also if your Pi is running BOINC work its best to finish it off and report it before starting.

15 April 2014

15th of April

Farm news
Were running ClimatePrediction ANZ models at the moment. Currently the entire Intel-GPU cluster plus one of the Nvidia GPU machines are on the case Mixed in with them I'm also running Asteroids work.

XP end of support
April 8th came and went. The few Windows XP machines that I have are still working after XP support ended. They picked up a few patches on the 8th and that should be it. I could upgrade a couple of them if I want to spend the money, however they would need memory upgrades to be able to run Win 7. None of them are particularly fast and its not really worth the effort.

06 April 2014

6th of April

Farm news
Another warm week but overnight temperatures are falling so that I managed to get the Intel-GPU's going overnight. Its cool and wet today (Sunday) so I have also been running one of the GPUgrid machines.

The Intel-GPU crunchers have been mainly working on Climate Prediction ANZ work mixed with Asteroids. I find that the later BOINC version prefers to swap work out rather than splitting the resource shares. If I have 4 CPDN work units I would also like to run 4 Asteroids at the same time, however the 7.3.x works by running 8 Asteroids or trying to run 8 CPDN (except I have them limited to 4 concurrent). I raised this with the developers on the mailing list and was told they don't expect to fix it any time soon. That is the max_concurrent setting is partially ignored when scheduling what work to run.

I continue to get upload failures for some of the CPDN files. I resort to using the backup file/proxy server on the dial up to finish off the uploads for these. I also had one for GPUgrid this morning. I think its an ISP fault but they don't seem to have a clue. It only seems to happen on the big uploads (CPDN and GPUgrid have 12Mb plus result files) and even then some work fine and others repeatedly get stuck at the same point.

BOINC testing
We got 7.3.15 this week. which had a few minor tweaks since 7.3.11. They put a change into .14 to abort work that exceeded the memory limits and then decided to remove that change in .15 as it was aborting too much work (pretty much all projects seem to underestimate how much memory their work units need).

Collatz have said they were going to rewrite all their apps in COBOL, remove all optimisations and make only 32 bit apps to put everybody on an equal footing. This was of course an April fools day joke.

Pi work
Last week I tried to upgrade one of the Pi's from Debian Weezy (the current release) to Debian Jessie (the testing release) so I could get a more up to date BOINC client. The latest Jessie BOINC client is 7.2.42. So after adding the Jessie repo to my apt configuration file and then doing an "apt-get update" followed by "apt-get upgrade" it downloaded a heap of files and started installing until it ran into libcurl I think and then complained it was the wrong version. I couldn't get it past that so I had to restore the image I made before starting.

I am aware that Loctus of Borg also had a repo which has a few BOINC related things in there such as the BOINC client (without manager), BOINCtui and the Seti multi-beam app. It seems he has BOINC 7.2.33 so its not as up to date as the Debian Jessie version. The only other way to do it is get the source and compile my own version.

From reading the Raspberry Pi forums it looks like Debian Jessie is expected to get released some time in November 2014.

I had to re-image one of the Raspberry Pi's this weekend. The same Pi that I tried upgrading to Jessie the week before. I took a copy of one of the other Pi's that was working fine and then wrote that to the offending Pi's SD card. I then had to remove BOINC from it so it doesn't use the same computer Id and then reinstall from the repository. After that I reattached to the projects and merge the old and new computer Id's.