BOINC pauses all tasks for no apparent reason

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512upload

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Message 104994 - Posted: 9 Aug 2021, 20:56:28 UTC

Hi! I have BOINC Manager 7.16.6, I´m running Rosetta@home and WorldCommunityGrid.

I have set BOINC to run 4 threads.
I´m using very low CPU (well under 10%) and I have like 3 GB of free RAM (5.7 GB total). Today I´ve noticed that BOINC was running no task (4 of them were waiting to run). I´ve paused all but one task and that task started running! What´s happening? Was not BOINC supposed to be running without my intervention (while it, at least apparently, had sufficient free resources for that effect)?

Does swappiness play any role in this?

Thank you for your attention!
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Bryn Mawr
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Message 104996 - Posted: 10 Aug 2021, 7:47:53 UTC - in response to Message 104994.  

Hi! I have BOINC Manager 7.16.6, I´m running Rosetta@home and WorldCommunityGrid.

I have set BOINC to run 4 threads.
I´m using very low CPU (well under 10%) and I have like 3 GB of free RAM (5.7 GB total). Today I´ve noticed that BOINC was running no task (4 of them were waiting to run). I´ve paused all but one task and that task started running! What´s happening? Was not BOINC supposed to be running without my intervention (while it, at least apparently, had sufficient free resources for that effect)?

Does swappiness play any role in this?

Thank you for your attention!


What are the tasks that were waiting to run? Rosetta or WCG and if WCG which flavour?

What os are you running?

Apart from the fact that Rosetta tasks are few and far between at the moment it sounds like you’ve run into a bunch of the Rosetta tasks that are set up to request lots of memory before they’ll start - 3gb is minimal for running 4 threads of Rosetta at the best of times.
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Richard Haselgrove
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Message 104999 - Posted: 10 Aug 2021, 8:39:11 UTC

Also, be aware that if you are using BOINC's own internal controls to keep CPU usage "well under 10%", they may not be working in the way you expected.

BOINC can't keep your CPU running continuously at a low speed. Instead, it operates by stopping and starting the CPU at 1-second intervals. A setting of 10% will result in the CPU being stopped for 9 seconds and allowed to run for 1 second.

The system was designed in the days of single-core CPUs: I don't know how it operates on modern multi-core CPUs. I doubt there is any mechanism for evening out the thermal cycle by running separate tasks at different times in the 10-second window: you may find that all tasks are paused at the same time, and all restart and run for their single second at the same time.
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512upload

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Message 105013 - Posted: 10 Aug 2021, 22:05:54 UTC - in response to Message 104996.  

WCG Mapping Cancer Markers

Linux Mint XFCE

Perhaps WCG Mapping Cancer Markers has some similar feature you´ve explained - of memory resources needed - like Rosetta, could that be the case? But if so, was BOINC well designed, it should try to run, if not 4, at least 3 or 2 or even 1 thread, right?
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512upload

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Message 105014 - Posted: 10 Aug 2021, 22:11:03 UTC - in response to Message 104999.  

I did not explained well enough: I set both CPU threads and CPU time to 100%. What I meant about those 10% is that at the time that BOINC was not running any of the pending tasks, the CPU usage was well under 10% (meaning that more than 90% were available for BOINC to use).
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Bryn Mawr
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Message 105073 - Posted: 12 Aug 2021, 21:48:37 UTC - in response to Message 105013.  

WCG Mapping Cancer Markers

Linux Mint XFCE

Perhaps WCG Mapping Cancer Markers has some similar feature you´ve explained - of memory resources needed - like Rosetta, could that be the case? But if so, was BOINC well designed, it should try to run, if not 4, at least 3 or 2 or even 1 thread, right?


OK, that’s one idea down, MCM is quite light on memory so even with only 3gb free you should be able to run.

Boinc will try to run as many tasks as it can but if you only have 3gb and all of the tasks waiting to run say they require 4gb to start (which some batches of Rosetta work units unfortunately do) then it will stall.
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512upload

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Message 105164 - Posted: 17 Aug 2021, 21:10:15 UTC - in response to Message 105073.  

I do have 5 Rosetta tasks waiting to be run.
But I also have three MCM tasks and only two of them are running even though I have 3.1 GB of free RAM available. :-/
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Les Bayliss
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Message 105165 - Posted: 17 Aug 2021, 21:14:57 UTC

How much ram does the computer have?
16Gig?
32Gig?
64Gig?
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512upload

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Message 105166 - Posted: 17 Aug 2021, 21:32:47 UTC - in response to Message 105073.  

Even worse now after I rebooted:

7 Rosetta tasks all halted
and
3 MCM tasks all halted

with 4.7 GB of free RAM (now 3.7 after starting Firefox). I guess:

1. at least one of the Rosetta tasks could perhaps have started before I opened Firefox;
2. at least one of the MCM tasks could perhaps have started both before and after I opened Firefox.

What am I missing?
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512upload

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Message 105167 - Posted: 17 Aug 2021, 21:33:16 UTC - in response to Message 105165.  

6GB (5.7GB effective)
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512upload

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Message 105168 - Posted: 17 Aug 2021, 21:47:16 UTC

After I pause all the Rosetta tasks, the MCM tasks start running with all 4 threads. :-/
This is really odd.
First, and most importantly, could not BOINC have the feature of not even trying to download tasks that require more RAM than available?
Second, why does not BOINC use free threads to advance work for tasks it can complete (MCM) while it ¨understands¨ it cannot work on the others (Rosetta)?
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Les Bayliss
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Message 105172 - Posted: 18 Aug 2021, 2:38:19 UTC - in response to Message 105167.  

These days, 6 Gigs isn't enough to tie your shoe laces.
If you can't add more, then cut down drastically on the number of tasks in your cache.
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Richard Haselgrove
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Message 105175 - Posted: 18 Aug 2021, 7:48:03 UTC - in response to Message 105172.  

Low memory won't affect cached tasks, but will reduce the number of tasks you can run concurrently.
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Message boards : Questions and problems : BOINC pauses all tasks for no apparent reason

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