NSF funds new model for BOINC

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boboviz

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Message 79102 - Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 10:18:00 UTC

A little doubt. In which way the work queue are managed?
I mean: for example, there will be the "medical" section of TBD with 5 project/universities/research centers that partecipate. Which will have the priority of work? The others have to wait the finish of work of one project to "access" to our (volunteers) computers???
I predict furious quarrels :-P
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vlado101

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Message 79123 - Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 20:50:02 UTC - in response to Message 79102.  

A little doubt. In which way the work queue are managed?
I mean: for example, there will be the "medical" section of TBD with 5 project/universities/research centers that partecipate. Which will have the priority of work? The others have to wait the finish of work of one project to "access" to our (volunteers) computers???
I predict furious quarrels :-P


Hi boboviz,

That maybe be true that proficient BOINC users such as yourself who join and research projects that they want to contribute might see this as a problem, but if you have someone who has not heard of BOINC before and has no idea of what projects are available (much less the scientific benefit) why would they care? To them they are contributing the medical research. I think the whole point of the new model is to get people who have never heard or thought about contributing their computing time to join. The sad fact of that is that a program would need to tailor to the lowest denominator, aka people who have not heard of BOINC or have done prior research on which projects exist. Would it not be better that those projects receive at least a little bit of this un-used computing power than none at all? The argument about how the projects would be weighted is beside the point for this type of user. They would need to be engaged, I am sure either access to papers or some new form of badges, but I see that the majority of people that this model is trying to attract would not do the same form of research. However, from my understanding the other model of joining projects (aka you choosing projects will exist). If the hypothetical initial user would then wonder which projects and how much of it is weighted he or she would then be able to join other projects that he or she would feel more of a connection to.

Please correct me if I am wrong, however I do feel that there is room for the new approach and the current BOINC model. I say all the more power to have people join and donate their computing time and it would be worth a try.
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boboviz

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Message 79124 - Posted: 19 Jun 2017, 21:58:04 UTC - in response to Message 79123.  

The argument about how the projects would be weighted is beside the point for this type of user. They would need to be engaged, I am sure either access to papers or some new form of badges, but I see that the majority of people that this model is trying to attract would not do the same form of research.


My post is to move the focus from volunteers to projects admins.
Why a project have to partecipate to TBD and not to Boinc, for example? Advantages?
How TBD administrates the queues of work? It's not only a "front-end" problem/volunteers, but also back-end
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Profile Carl Christensen

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Message 79145 - Posted: 20 Jun 2017, 21:09:08 UTC - in response to Message 78746.  
Last modified: 20 Jun 2017, 21:13:02 UTC

>>It's your fault. With good and continously updated documentation, support on forum/mailing list/etc, the administration of a VC >>project for a research group is NOT so hard.

That's total bullshit -- having run two fairly big BOINC projects (CPDN & QCN) and helped with many others - I think I can state unequivocally that 99.9% of research groups don't have the staff to properly start and support a BOINC project. The only ones that succeeded were ones that were comfortable looking outside the science post-doc staff to actually get real (and good) computing people. And extra credit if they actually had scientists that new anything about computers and software (e.g. Bruce Allen).

Also you need a project leader with a good bit of "chutzpah" and zeal to get publicity etc. That narrows down the potential field a lot. There should probably be a "Drake Equation" for BOINC --- yeah the potential pool of scientists making projects is a million but when you get down to it you end up with a handful.

So it seems to me that BOINC has well saturated the current "market" or model and the 'good ole projects' will be unaffected so there needs to be something new like this to expand things (or just keep things alive).
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Profile David Anderson
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Message 79222 - Posted: 23 Jun 2017, 4:48:45 UTC
Last modified: 23 Jun 2017, 4:49:30 UTC

My aggregate responses in 4 areas: TBD, BOINC, cryptocurrencies, and myself.

TDB:
- TBD is not a BOINC replacement. It's a new project manager for volunteers who
want to use it, and it's technology to help HPC centers add BOINC back ends.
- The role of TBD is not to maintain BOINC or GPUGrid; I'm not sure where that confusion arose.
- TBD doesn't handle jobs. Please read the proposal and about account managers.
- Supercomputer centers are not commercial.
They're government-funded, and scientists apply for resource allocations.
TACC and SDSC (San Diego Supercomputer Center) are examples.
The function of TBD (and volunteer computing in general) is to save the government money
(important, as funding agency budgets are being cut) and to allow novel research to be done
that otherwise couldn't afford the needed computing.
- In some areas, like biomedicine, research results may eventually get commercialized (e.g. drug discovery).
That's the nature of academic research.
People need to weigh this against the benefit of the outcome (e.g. having a drug available).
- TBD will tell volunteers where each job came from, if they want to know.
It won't, however, force volunteers to learn about and select projects.
- TBD will vet the projects it encompasses. There will be no "rogue" projects.

BOINC:
- The API is, of course, under version control. If there are bugs, file Github issues.
- BOINC is scarcely "hindering" GPUGrid. We've provided every feature they've requested,
and they haven't requested any for at least 5 years.

Cryptocurrencies:
- I'd love to see BOINC credit used as proof of work for a cryptocurrency.
In fact I proposed this to Bitcoin a long time ago;
they declined because BOINC isn't fully distributed; fair enough.
But this can't be built directly into BOINC; NSF wouldn't be OK with that.

Myself:
- I was interested to read that I moved to the private sector during the gap in BOINC funding.
This is an example of "fake news", and it discredits the originator.
Actually, I've been working mostly on SETI@home,
developing a new back-end system called Nebula
that completes the ET-finding pipeline,
also a bit on HERA, a new radio telescope that will image the extremely early universe.
Neither of these is private sector, of course.

Did I leave out anything?
-- David
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Profile pschoefer

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Message 79280 - Posted: 25 Jun 2017, 9:23:29 UTC - in response to Message 79222.  

Thanks for the clarifications, the idea looks much better to me now.

Another point that crossed my mind is that those volunteers who are attracted by the "TBD" approach will likely also be interested in seeing actual results of the research they support:
While I understand that not every single task of every project is meaningful considered by itself, but the project may need many years of computation until a paper can be written, published results often slipped under the radar in the past and volunteers complained that all their effort would lead to nothing. I can imagine that the new HPC center projects will contribute to papers quite regularly, because they can also host short-term projects, and I think that they should definitely communicate their successes to the volunteers (a news item propagated to the BOINC Manager might not be enough; I myself would be happy with an email notification, GPUGRID's approach of awarding badges based on the contribution to particular papers might also be quite attractive). And, of course, that information would need to be propagated to "TBD" if you don't want that the volunteers have to deal with the individual projects. Having a list of papers the volunteer has made possible with his resources would likely be much more popular than just being able to say "hey, I'm contributing to biomed research".

And just a few words on cryptocurrencies: While I agree that it is a shame to see all that wasted computing power, I predict (based on psychology and a bit of history) that it would be trading short-term benefit for another can of worms and the beginning of the end of BOINC as a Volunteer Computing platform if it was built into BOINC, so it's good that this is not going to happen.
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mmonnin

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Message 79767 - Posted: 25 Jul 2017, 12:45:59 UTC - in response to Message 79036.  

It's interesting that the original article I linked makes no mention of BOINC: it credits GPUGrid and NVidia, but not the glue that binds them together. I think that's inevitable - infrastructure should be boring, invisible, and reliable. The second quote should remind us of the ongoing need for maintenance of the existing BOINC framework, which has been sadly neglected for the last two years. GPUGrid has hugely intensive computational needs - their tasks are regularly taking longer than 24 hours on my GTX 970 cards, and that's longer than they would wish. Hardware, drivers, and operating systems are all evolving, and BOINC has to keep up or become irrelevant. I don't see how GPUGrid could be supported under TBD.


Wrong example.
In Italy we say "scaricabarile" (something like "pass the buck").
Gpugrid SW is buggy, slow, not optimize also without "ipotetical problems" on Boinc infrastructure.
They don't support cpus or amd gpus or android, they support ONLY Nvidia Gpus and, despite this, EVERY new release of driver they have problems.


Yup, GPUGrid is a bad example. Their 'issues' are GPUGrid related and how they manage their own app/server. They have issues I've only seen with GPUGrid and no other project. They are just trying to pawn it off on BOINC. If they wish they can go the way of POEM and pay for all their free work they are getting now. They could get a lot more free work if they fixed their own issues.
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Lionel HANNEQUIN

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Message 79819 - Posted: 27 Jul 2017, 22:41:12 UTC

Hi,
I have red the page named "TBD: a new model for volunteer computing" by David Anderson, 1 June 2017.
You are searching for a name for the new model for BOINC.
You name it "TBD" for now and you thought about names starting with "Sci".
Why not Scitizen ?
I have graduated from business and for a name to be retained, it is simple, you need vowels.
Who would not retain : BONOBO, CAMARO, EMINEM, BANANA, NIKE, COCA-COLA, JELLY BELLY, OREO, etc.
The name needs vowels, the name must be remembered, ideally must make guess the product that is behind (ex: CHOCO-BANANA) one guesses easily.
Scitizen: many vowels, easy to remember, we guess that it is science and citizens behind.
But the GOOD name is hard to choose, need a brainstorming and a global agreement.
Best regards from France.
Lionel.
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Richie
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Message 79820 - Posted: 28 Jul 2017, 1:14:37 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jul 2017, 1:17:25 UTC

I think Scitizen looks like a misspelled word and doesn't contain enough vowels in contrast to consonants. That somewhat differentiates it from the good words you listed as an example.
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Lionel HANNEQUIN

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Message 79825 - Posted: 28 Jul 2017, 10:41:52 UTC - in response to Message 79820.  

Yes, absolutely, it was only an example. You are right.
I thought about it only 5 minutes with three imposed letters: "Sci".
This is why I said it takes a brainstorming and feedback like yours are welcome for a global agreement.
Someone can say, "I found", and someone will contradict it with good personal arguments.
A chat session appointment to present ideas of each other can easily make a good brainstorming.
There are also softwares to search for new words by mixing vowels and consonants.
On the other hand, it should not be too difficult to code for the geek community.
One must also be careful that the word chosen is not an insult in another country.
We often find very nice words in our ancient civilizations or the existing tribes: ubuntu is a good example.
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Lionel HANNEQUIN

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Message 79827 - Posted: 28 Jul 2017, 11:59:59 UTC - in response to Message 79825.  
Last modified: 28 Jul 2017, 12:23:29 UTC

This will be my last message. Promised. I just want my beginner feeling to be returned to you all.

In my opinion, David's idea of thinking of a new BOINC client is a really good idea and he has really good arguments.
This would allow small groups of scientists, with little knowledge of coding for a new BOINC project, to benefit from the larger community and there would be more and more projects to come.
I do not know anything about the difficulty of coding a new calculation project for BOINC but I imagine that the difficulty must be a brake for many scientists.
David will come up against people who think it's not a good idea to change BOINC. Reading posts, I guess it seems to be already the case.

Below, you will find my point of view, just a few ideas.
These are only ideas and of course I specify that I am of very beginner level, even if I calculated already 10 years ago and that I made a long break of several years.
To start, I want to tell you that I am French and that my English will not be perfect, even if Google helps me a little.

At the very first use of the new BOINC to come, the user could choose one or more calculation domains, for example astrophysics.
Users could leave it at that, maybe with an explanatory comment, for example: "Profitable to small groups of scientists".
And for those who really want to choose a specific project, advanced options available, would allow to choose among the presentation of all projects contained in the field of astrophysics.
As everyone would be happy, those who prefer to choose a domain and offer the services of their computer in equal parts among all the projects of the field of astrophysics, but also those who want to know precisely where their calculations power goes.

Regarding the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtaking advantage of smartphones, it's a great idea too. The battery should not be exhausted, however... Why not use 5% of the processor on video game consoles too?

For my part, I have a return to share.
In BOINC's preferences (I may not have the right translations of the menus because my BOINC is in French) in "Calculations in progress".
In the "Limits of use", I find it unfortunate to express the processor in terms of percentage.
BOINC could easily find out how many cores the host processor has and the user could choose the number of cores to share.
The percentage option may be useful for people who have multiple computers, I do have never tried, I do not know.

What I find the most unfortunate, really unfortunate, is the option just below: "Use up to x% of the processor time".
If I choose to put 10%, I have a look to my monitoring software, and I realize that BOINC actually uses 10% of the processor time, but uses the processor at a level of 100% !
In order not to heat up the equipment or to use it too quickly, I prefer to choose: "Use up to 25% of the CPU total power".
And that the processor no longer uses 100% with a break of a few seconds, then back to 100%, etc...
Because I wish a very linear 25% use of my total processor capacity, with a break of a few seconds to cool the equipment, then again to 25% but never higher.
And the same for the GPU, I want a very linear use with the percentage I choose, with a break of a few seconds to cool the equipment.

Thinking in terms of percentages of the processor total power, the user who has a laptop on battery, for example, could choose 10% of the processor total power if he wants to conserve energy for his plane trip.
This would not prevent him from continuing calculate and send the results with the airport or home wifi.
One could even imagine an algorithm that would automatically decrease the linear percentage used by the processor for the BOINC use in perfect line with the decline of the laptop battery.

And for a cell phone calculating with BOINC, I imagine that the fear of all people will be that the battery wears out too quickly.
Thus, the user could try 10% of the power of the processor and increase it gradually until finding the best choice according to its daily activity, with the choice to increase the total power according to the days and hours.
But this requires a linear use of the processor.
With a linear use of the processor, I ask myself if the option to choose how many cores of the processor to be used is still usefull ?
BOINC could perhaps uses all the cores and user could maybe only choose a linear total power of the processor to use.

These are only personal returns, I do not expect an answer, I do not impose my ideas, it is just a feeling.

My final personnal need is a linear use of the processor with break of a few seconds to cool the equipment.

Best regards from France.

Lionel.
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Profile Tom Miller
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Message 80062 - Posted: 8 Aug 2017, 14:47:54 UTC

I like the "ease of use" argument for providing a way to utilize Volunteer Distributed Network Computing resources to current researchers w/o them having to "setup" anything more than what they already do.

"...Partner with existing HTC computing providers such as supercomputing centers and science portals to add BOINC-based back ends. These projects would be operated by the provider's staff. Tens of thousands of scientists use such computing providers. These scientists would benefit from lower queueing delays, higher throughput and lower cost. But they wouldn't need to do anything; they wouldn't even need to know that VC is being used..."

I also propose the following name for the "TBD" project manager. "DoScience" There are many "Slackers" who would love to be able to say they were "Doing Science" on their devices and be able to tell stories about various research topics w/o needing to do more than "install it" and read.

While I started doing Seti screen saver processing in the original iteration(s) of distributed processing I have dabbled and now am very interested in topics like Cancer Research (I have 3 relatives who have died from Cancer[Yes, I am still grieving over the latest]), better drugs, bio-medicine research, climate research etc.

I have watched/read the development discussion(s) for Seti@Home. I am a Seti Volunteer Tester. I see how hard it appears to be to take "full advantage" of GPU processing. I am still not utilizing Linux to its fullest extent even though it would mean a massive increase in my computer productivity. Why? Its not fully turnkey enough (yet).

I have the Oracle Virtual Box installed on several of my PC's. It is not in use because of the confusing way you have to "sign up" to find tasks that it can be used for. I took a look and in at least one case you have to find the specific "sub project" and signup for it to have the OVBx be used. So I go back to the keyword "easily". Since one of the goals of TBD is to support making it easy to utilize tools like the OVBx I'm for it.

I believe the ability to "easily" tap volunteer computing resources is the leading edge to getting more Scientists to use the resources. If it is made completely transparent (through the "back end's) then both the Scientists and VC can benefit.

I believe the ability to "easily" offer volunteer computing resources from all sorts of devices is the leading edge to getting more volunteers. Yes, I am processing Boinc/Seti on my Android phone(s). "DoScience"!!!

I support the idea(s) of TBD to attempt to provide additional access to VC for both volunteers and for researchers/scientists.

Respectfully,
Tom Miller, YASE
(Yet Another Seti Enthusiast)
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Message 80063 - Posted: 8 Aug 2017, 14:59:42 UTC - in response to Message 79123.  

I think the whole point of the new model is to get people who have never heard or thought about contributing their computing time to join. The sad fact of that is that a program would need to tailor to the lowest denominator, aka people who have not heard of BOINC or have done prior research on which projects exist. Would it not be better that those projects receive at least a little bit of this un-used computing power than none at all?
---------------
Please correct me if I am wrong, however I do feel that there is room for the new approach and the current BOINC model. I say all the more power to have people join and donate their computing time and it would be worth a try.


RIGHT ON :D
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cathbrookes14

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Message 80190 - Posted: 15 Aug 2017, 10:21:35 UTC

Hello!
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Ajay Ramesh

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Message 80208 - Posted: 15 Aug 2017, 17:14:10 UTC - in response to Message 78714.  

hi,

I am very passionate about VC, and want to be a part of this new model, how to get started?

I did somewhat similar to BOINC, but our goals were different, still it's worth reading out https://github.com/iitc/iitc.github.io/blob/master/vertico-tech-report.pdf - which could help refining the new model.

Excited to contribute to this new model. Please guide me on first few steps.

Thank you
Aj
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Message boards : News : NSF funds new model for BOINC

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