Posts by Richard Haselgrove

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1) Message boards : Problems and Bug Reports : Possible conflict between pref settings for "Run test Apps" and "Run selected Apps" (Message 151812)
Posted 1 day ago by Richard Haselgrove
... but I thought that since the change was made on the website, the scheduler would have immediate access to the changed settings. ...

Sorry, I saw this this morning and meant to reply, but as always real life intervened.

Strangely, the same question came up at SETI a week ago, and I tried to answer it in SETI message 1760307. Perhaps it would be helpful to repeat it here - you'll need to translate application names, but the rest should be applicable.

There are lots of preferences available in the venue settings, but let's just talk about two groups.

Hardware: CPU / ATI / NVidia / intel
Software: SaH_v7 / AP / SaH_v8 / other apps

I think they work in different ways.

The 'software' group seem to work directly on the server - they take effect immediately after you update the website.

The 'hardware' group work by sending a message back to your computer, which only takes effect for the next work request. That's because requesting work, and sending messages about preferences, use the same 'update' mechanism. The 'click update' suggested on the website for activating new preferences:

Your preferences have been updated, and will take effect when your computer communicates with SETI@home or you issue the Update command from the BOINC Manager.

can also be a work request, and will use the old hardware preferences (because the message about the change hasn't been received yet).

The strange thing (and this is perhaps one for Jord to look into) is that I seem to remember that when this mechanism was introduced, it was stated that the 'hardware' group changes would be acted on by the server too: even if the client requested work for CPU, it wouldn't be sent if that option had been deselected in preferences.

It's that inconsistency which causes confusion such as this thread. It's easy to work round - just issue a single 'update' with No New Tasks set to transfer the settings, and then go back to normal - but it's an extra thing to remember, and seems unnecessary.

So, my understanding is that if you have long-standing preferences that exclude particular hardware types, you should never get an unexpected work allocation for an application which uses that hardware - because your client will have requested zero seconds of work.

But if you allow work for the hardware, and you allow Beta applications, you may sometimes be surprised by work for a new Beta application you hadn't specifically selected.

The SETI thread meandered on a bit further, but ended with this rhetorical exchange:

It's as Richard said it would be, first need to have the reply from the server back in before the next work request will follow the preferences you set.

Which raises the question: why does the server have to wait until the client tells it back again what the server already knows?
2) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : the "Last Person to blah blah blah" thread is now old enough to vote (in the US) (Message 151118)
Posted 16 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
Please note: this island bears no resemblance to the one I was proposing for a SETI Beta developers' retreat. I was thinking more of something spiky and volcanic.

Or maybe Alcatraz...
3) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : the "Last Person to blah blah blah" thread is now old enough to vote (in the US) (Message 151084)
Posted 17 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
Try
4) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : the "Last Person to blah blah blah" thread is now old enough to vote (in the US) (Message 150671)
Posted 26 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
This one was apparently a serious proposal for London - in 1931.



King’s Cross Airport
5) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : the "Last Person to blah blah blah" thread is now old enough to vote (in the US) (Message 150666)
Posted 26 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
Doesn't some people using them anyway:

Small plane lands in middle of highway in US
6) Message boards : Getting Started : Help with setup of i5 4590 plus nvidia GTX960 (Message 150622)
Posted 27 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
Something posted at SETI that seems like a significant warning against jumping straight into the Skylake pool right now.

http://hexus.net/tech/news/cpu/89636-intel-skylake-bug-seizes-pcs-running-complex-workloads/

There are some very low-priced Skylake CPUs sold under the Pentium brand these days. I recently reviewed a list of the capabilities disabled by the manufacturer on these chips as compared to i3/i5/i7 chips sold from the same die, and got the tentative answer that for my purposes they would probably be entirely adequate. "Pentium", "Core", i3, i5, i7, and even Xeon are just brands, and as with, say, Ford/Mercury/Lincoln, the names are not a durably reliable indicator of the detailed characteristics of the products sold under that name in any given year. Anyone telling you what a Skylake Pentium is like based on their memory of ancient products sold under that name is speaking through their hat.
7) Message boards : Getting Started : Help with setup of i5 4590 plus nvidia GTX960 (Message 150587)
Posted 28 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
(Pssst - don't look now but I think you've really caught the crunching bug!!) :-).

Looks like it! It slightly depends whether he's caught the generic 'crunching' bug, or the specific 'einsteinian' variant of it.

My personal preference for the last few years has been - for projects where there is a choice, like here - to crunch exclusively on GPUs. And then, to attach to projects which only have CPU applications, and let the CPUs work there. For preference, I run projects which I observe to place a relatively light load on the CPU - perhaps predominantly integer maths, rather than heavily optimised FPU code. I recently gave quite a big share to FightNeglectedDieseases@Home - I liked the style of Ben, the self-described 'lonely sysadmin' on the front page, and was pleased to help where I could. At the moment, that project is in hiatus, while the previous science run is analysed and Ben writes up his PhD thesis. I hope they come back, but I'm sure there are other similar projects out there.

It's probably in the context of that sort of cross-project working that I suggested four full cores, rather than dual-core with HT. I don't think there's a big difference in either purchase price or electricity consumption, these days.
8) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : Seti Refuge Bar & Bistro Wing of Cafe Einstein (Message 150541)
Posted 29 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
and we're back after 3 hours offline...

Wonder what happen...

See Tech News.
9) Message boards : Technical News : Project got stuck due to DB problems (Message 150540)
Posted 29 days ago by Richard Haselgrove
You may be aware that SETI@Home is going through an application transition, and many GPU users will have been looking for a temporary new house-warmer.

We're working to get the new SETI GPU versions released as quickly as possible, but there's still some more testing to do.
10) Message boards : Getting Started : Help with setup of i5 4590 plus nvidia GTX960 (Message 150490)
Posted 8 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
I think the Core-i ranges come in a number of core-thread combinations. For crunching, you probably want 4 full cores without hyperthreading.
11) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : the "Last Person to blah blah blah" thread is now old enough to vote (in the US) (Message 150424)
Posted 7 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
Could the crawler tow a mobile launch platform for the drone?
12) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : Seti Refuge Bar & Bistro Wing of Cafe Einstein (Message 150419)
Posted 7 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
At least the cabinets were big enough to put decent ffrr-engineered speakers in, in those days.
13) Message boards : Problems and Bug Reports : Invalid against Linux or Mac from Windows (Message 150361)
Posted 6 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
I'm going to investigate this a bit more in-depth in January. I think there will be enough such tasks in the database then, so you don't need to collect the task IDs in the meantime.

Something to take into the investigation:
Maybe the problem is not (just) Windows vs Linux? Maybe it's Pentium vs Xeon as in this WU?

That particular one looks like it might be a thermal or overclocking issue.

The two validated Linux tasks both look like server-grade hardware - a 40-core Xeon, in particular, is likely to be locked to stable speeds, and the 4-core E3-1220 is a member of the Atlas cluster - need I say more?

The Windows i5-4670'K', on the other hand, is an unlocked consumer-grade CPU which allows overclocking, though I can't tell whether any overclocking has actually been applied. It's possible that the FGRP4-SSE2 application is pushing that particular CPU beyond its stable limits, or beyond the capacity of its cooling system.
14) Message boards : Cruncher's Corner : Point Rationale (Message 150333)
Posted 5 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
That's actually not quite the best advice. Hang on a moment while I refresh my memory.

OK, go to http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_classic.php

You'll be in the very final category: "If you're already using BOINC". Click on the link at the end of the final line - 'Claim your SETI@home Classic workunits'. After that, you're on your own - it tells me I've already done it, and it's a one-time process.

Basically, you can't 'combine' your classic and BOINC contributions into a single number (the units are different), but you can claim and display your classic contribution as a codicil to your current account. The process may even retrieve and display your original joining date at the SETI project, but I'm not certain about that.

You will certainly need to know the email address you used as your classic account ID, and you may be asked for your SETI classic password as well. As I said, It's been a long time since I did it, and I can't access the form to refresh my memory. But I hope that sets you on the right path.
15) Message boards : Getting Started : Help with setup of i5 4590 plus nvidia GTX960 (Message 150310)
Posted 5 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
Please open BOINC Manager - advanced view and select Advanced -> Event log ... and you will see a new window with a log of events that have happened since you last started BOINC.

Mike is using BOINC v7.6.22, where there has been a substantial rearrangement of the menu layout. The Event Log is now listed under 'Tools', or can be opened via the key combination Ctrl+Shift+E.

I don't remember whether the Windows notepad was a pure plain text editor or whether it could output in Microsoft Word .doc format. I don't know if notepad still exists and if so, what formats it is capable of producing these days.

I can't speak for Windows 10, but certainly up to and including Windows 8.1, Notepad was/is a very basic tool with no word processing capability - ideal for the job in hand here. There are only two settings to worry about when saving the file:

'Save as type': This will show as "Text Documents (*.txt)". Change this to the only other option, "All Files (*.*)". This doesn't change the contents in any way, but it prevents Notepad adding the (usually hidden) extra '.txt' on the end of the file name, which Windows subsequently uses to choose which program to use when viewing the file. Here, we want the file name to end with '.xml', and we want Windows (and BOINC) to know that.

'Encoding': this determines the character set used in the file (things like accented letters and other multilingual support). This should be set to 'ANSI'.

So, does your comment of "microsoft word file" mean that you used Word to produce the file, or perhaps did you use the current notepad that perhaps is now capable of various output formats, including .doc format or something like .doc format? You need to treat me like a complete dummy as far as Windows stuff is concerned. I've forgotten whatever I did know and have no knowledge of how more recent versions behave :-).

You need an editor that can be configured to output plain text with no embedded gobbledygook. Perhaps one of the many more enlightened Windows users around here can suggest an appropriate app (or the appropriate settings) to create BOINC configuration files in plain text.

It's unlikely that any program except Microsoft Word will have created a file that Windows thinks is a microsoft word file. And if Word was used, it is absolutely certain that the file contains embedded gobbledygook which will confuse the hell out of BOINC.

But nothing is lost. You can open the file in Word, select all the text, and copy it. Then, open Notepad (the easiest way might be by creating a new 'Text Document' by right-clicking in your document library, and selecting 'New' from the menu), and paste the existing text into that. Then, save it as 'app_config.xml', using the settings given above.

One final wrinkle: if you get that right, Windows will describe the resultant file as 'XML Document' (that's the acid test - if not, back up and try again). If you doubleclick on that file, Windows will open the Internet Explorer web browser and attempt to display it - with sundry warnings, and with some extra characters in the display. Don't worry about that - it doesn't damage the file in any way - but you won't be able to make any changes, and the extra display characters have caught people out in the past when they want to copy a file and make changes elsewhere. If you want to change the app_config.xml file after you first make it, right-click on it and choose 'Edit'.
16) Message boards : Cruncher's Corner : Point Rationale (Message 150260)
Posted 4 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
"Classic" was a long time ago. Maybe it made sense then. I don't believe there is an excuse, now.

Indeed. It was shut down in 2005, a few days before my joining date here (those two facts are related - I diversified very quickly after I was forced to bite the bullet and transfer to BOINC. And the rest, as they say, is history).

I'm fairly certain that the allegations of "waste" - distributing work purely to keep volunteers' machines active - relate exclusively to the 'Classic' period, and hence hasn't happened for the last 10 years. Yes, SETI does reprocess work when a new algorithm (autocorrelation) or pre-processing technique (radar blanking) becomes available - but that's for scientific purposes. Einstein does the same.

I keep a database of all the SETI tasks I've processed, and publish summaries of the results in SETI data distribution history. I've scanned that database looking for evidence of 'make-work' wastage, and I haven't found any. It's slightly confusing, and hard to analyse, because SETI has very long deadlines, and timed-out tapes appear as resends months after they were split. But the stated policy - and I have found no evidence to contradict it - is that 'modern' SETI won't re-issue work without scientific purpose.
17) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : Seti Refuge Bar & Bistro Wing of Cafe Einstein (Message 150223)
Posted 3 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
And then there are the joys of live radio commentary.
18) Message boards : Getting Started : Help with setup of i5 4590 plus nvidia GTX960 (Message 150217)
Posted 3 Jan 2016 by Richard Haselgrove
My eldest spawn college kid does xml coding all the time.

Tell him to forget most of what he's learned!

BOINC uses a simplified, bare-bones version of XML - we usually advise people to use a simple plain-text editor, rather than a full-featured XML tool. Sometimes it's good for the soul to go back to basics for half an hour.
19) Message boards : Problems and Bug Reports : Report Webpage Problems Here (Message 149396)
Posted 16 Dec 2015 by Richard Haselgrove
Report of a web formatting inconsistency (nul/zero credit for invalid tasks) here.
20) Message boards : Problems and Bug Reports : Disabling CPU tasks doesn't disable CPU tasks (Message 149388)
Posted 16 Dec 2015 by Richard Haselgrove
Please confirm that your project properties for Einstein show something similar to this:



Also, please supply further details of the 'request' - did you see that in the Event Log, or somewhere else?


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants PHY-1104902, PHY-1104617 and PHY-1105572 and by the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the MPG.

Copyright © 2016 Bruce Allen