Posts by pschoefer

1) Message boards : Projects : For the betterment of BOINC (Message 79838)
Posted 29 Jul 2017 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Better late than never:

My main point on how to make BOINC better would be the big field of improving communication. If bug reports and feature requests are submitted at the wrong place or not at all, nothing will change, so we users should be more verbous. On the other hand, it might be a good idea if BOINC would do more to encourage feedback. The bug report instructions are a bit hidden and it might be better to discuss feature requests only on one platform, not on three platforms in parallel. There was a survey long time ago, maybe it's time for another one.

So, thanks for creating this thread here and on various project message boards. An additional news item pointing to this thread would have been great, but it's better than discussing with just a few invited participants in some backroom.

Another point: While finding new ways to attract more participants is definitely important, the existing user base should also be kept happy. In another thread, I mentioned a few points how BOINC could be improved in order to prepare it for one of the proposed new ways while also adding something useful for the existing user base. If a new idea, however, requires notable changes without improving something for the existing users, it might not be a good idea, especially if it touches polarizing topics:

Imagine a political party promised that they would run BOINC on all government computers and create a foundation specifically to support BOINC projects, if they had the power. They might beg that BOINC officially endorses them and adds a checkbox to the user preferences so that a user can show that he supports the party, which might later be used to identify users who are entitled to decide which projects the government computers should run. The set&forget users would probably not notice anything because they never visit the project websites, let alone the message boards, but such a move would severely alienate those enthusiasts who loathe the party because of other platform points or believe that BOINC should always remain non-partisan. This could well lead to civil-war-like discussions on the message boards of the projects and various related communities and cause the enthusiasts to lose their enthusiasm or quit BOINC altogether. In the end, the party might not be able to keep its promise, either, and only the set&forget users who tend to forget to install BOINC after buying a new computer are left. So the much better solution would be that BOINC remains neutral, while the party can still deliver on their promise even without an endorsement (and they can certainly find other formats for their campaign than relying on BOINC doing their job).


For the group, I've pointed out

http://boinc.berkeley.edu/wiki/Publications_by_BOINC_projects

which is understated and outdated. But would something like that, perhaps with a paragraph from the abstract of each paper, count as a return?

That would be great. And if the projects had standardized publication lists on their websites, a global list of BOINC-based publications could be generated without someone having to keep track of all project announcements.
2) Message boards : News : NSF funds new model for BOINC (Message 79280)
Posted 25 Jun 2017 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
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.
3) Message boards : News : NSF funds new model for BOINC (Message 78891)
Posted 10 Jun 2017 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Well, one of the reasons I have been crunching for many years now is that I also became member of an active team, which can be much more motivating than crunching alone all the time. I suspect this is true for many others, as well, but if we all started quoting our team descriptions here as part of the reason we are crunching, it would be just like the team recruitment forum.

As the funding is already granted, we should rather try to give constructive feedback to David's ideas:
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.

If the HTC providers don't offer the BOINC-based service for free, they are basically selling the resources donated by the volunteers. They will have to be very transparent on that, as there will certainly be volunteers who don't like that their donations are sold and are angry if they learn about that too late. IMHO, also the 'TBD' account manager should have an opt-in checkbox to allow this kind of projects only if it's really the user's choice. If the HTC providers were paying the volunteers for their 'donation' (I remember that long time ago there was a project that wanted to do exactly that, but it never really came to life), this would open another can of worms and likely also lead to decreased enthusiasm in the long term.

In addition, I don't think that the vbox mechanism, which would be used heavily by those projects, is working well enough yet. For example, the tasks are running with normal priority instead of idle priority and you won't be able to use your computer, if you are running more than one task per physical core on a very common i7 CPU with hyperthreading (with default settings, BOINC would run one task per thread, i.e. two tasks per physical core). This is far away from the basic idea that BOINC is using the spare cycles while the users may continue using their computers as usual. It is also not trivial to set everything up correctly, even long-time enthusiasts sometimes have trouble to get a vbox project to run. If newcomers get attached to such problematic projects first, they might just uninstall BOINC and never come back.

If the problems with vbox are going to be fixed now, it'll be great also for the traditional projects and the current volunteers. But if just more and more vbox projects were created, that would be taking the second step before the first.

Create an account manager (let's called it "TBD" for now) acting as the primary volunteer interface. TBD lets volunteers express their preferences in terms of keywords (scientific areas and locations) rather than selecting specific projects. Based on these preferences, and corresponding keywords of projects and applications, TBD dynamically assigns computers to a set of vetted projects, which would include both existing (single-group) projects, as well as the new computing-center projects.

I agree that likely very few current volunteers will be interested in such a platform, but it could in fact make things a bit easier for newcomers.

I also see a few ways to improve BOINC in order to make "TBD" a success which would also be appreciated by many current volunteers. For example, I can imagine that there might be "TBD" users who want to give two cores of their quadcore CPU to biomed and the other two cores to astrophysics. Over the years, I frequently read newcomers asking why they can't (easily) set that x cores should be used for project A and y cores for project B. Of course, there is already the resource share mechanism, but it works only in the long run and newcomers tend to be a bit impatient. Credits are another point; a fair system that depends on the actual project-specific work done would be easier to explain to newcomers than some kind of lottery trying to square the circle.

Overall, however, I would be surprised if there were millions of new volunteers just waiting for new platforms like the new account manager. The main problems are that 'new' devices like smartphones or tablets can be used for VC, but are not particularly well-suited for it (battery life, cooling) and that the power-saving mechanisms have advanced quite a lot in the last ten years, so we lost the important selling point that while the volunteer is using the computer as usual, it could do something useful with all the spare cycles in parallel without significantly increasing the power consumption. Unfortunately, there's no plausible way that the environment improves again in favor of VC, so all we can do is to keep the fire of enthusiasm alive.
4) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2017 (Message 77236)
Posted 8 Apr 2017 by Profile pschoefer
Post:


Less than ten months have passed since the seventh BOINC Pentathlon came to an end. Now the Pentathlon is back to its usual date from May 5 to May 19 and SETI.Germany invites all BOINC teams to compete in five disciplines at five projects for the eighth time.

This year, the stable and popular project World Community Grid is set for the City Run discipline, with only one subproject being considered for the Pentathlon.

The teams may enter their favorite WCG subproject and three additional project suggestions while signing up using the registration form at https://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/anmeldung.php until April 27. The suggestions will be taken into account in the project selection as described here. Late registration without project suggestions is possible until May 2.

All information about the BOINC Pentathlon is available at Pentathlon pages, while you can find the answers to many questions in the FAQ.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Pentathlon! :)
5) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69684)
Posted 21 May 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
I think that there is a way to introduce benchmark jobs that use real data and real applications but first I need to find a way to untangle all of the CreditNew code so it can be replaced at all.

That's how Rectilinear Crossing Number fixed their problem with benchmark cheating some years ago. Not perfect, but about the best thing that can be done for variable-length tasks with no good (known) metric for the work done.

But still, it should be made as easy as possible for project administrators to use their own system instead (which might be as simple as n credits per task for fixed-length tasks).
6) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69564)
Posted 11 May 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
That means we start with a BOINC-wide "standard number" of (just for show) 1 point per hour on an i5-6500 @3,5Ghz and projects (in alpha) test their available computers to that result.
This allows to make a table with a few processors and their efficiency for this project.

Then in closed beta you send out the same WUs to computers having those CPUs (GPUs) and to new processors (set to standard) to get their relative efficiency until you have a table with (nearly) all processors.

Now you have a quite accurate comparision table and can reward based on that numbers.
From time to time (or rolling average) you control those numbers.

That's basically the old first generation credit system with centralized benchmarking instead of local benchmarks on every single host. So benchmark manipulation is not possible, but the system still relies on easy-to-fake reported runtimes. You would not only run into trouble with rare CPUs not in your table, but also you would rely on the reported CPU type (can be faked very easily right now). You would also have to accurately measure CPU clock, otherwise overclocked CPUs are doing more work but get same credit per time. And that's just one of a gazillion parameters possibly affecting the actual computation speed.

Moreover, the 'benchmark phase' would have to be repeated everytime a new application version is released, creating even more work for project administrators than my project-specific credit approach.

Any average-comparative credit system will also break long-term credit stability on project level, while you still would not really have cross-project parity as different hosts just behave too differently on different applications. So in the end, you would have a complicated system and people not only complain about cheating and project A granting more credit per time than project B on their hosts, but also about broken credit stability on project level. A discussion about the 5th generation BOINC credit system would likely come up in no time.
7) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69560)
Posted 10 May 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
SekeRob2 wrote:
It may very well be that each project can do as they please with the credit system, and cross project comparing is a waste of time [at this time it is], but why then is there a BOINC credit system, a CPID and the many project comparing statistics websites for host/OS/team/member and more, to include the not unique: http://boinc.netsoft-online.com/e107_plugins/boinc/get_cpcs.php, which highlights the differentials in a matrix of how one second of computing compares on hosts that share the same projects.

You have to keep in mind that the basic idea of one credit system for many projects is a relic of a time when there was not a big diversity of projects doing very different types of calculations and the differences between CPUs were comparable across the projects. If project A granted twice as much credit as project B on one host, the ratio was about the same on every other host. Nobody thought of developments like x64 and AVX, let alone GPUs, which may be a hundred times faster than a CPU on project A, but slower than the CPU or even unusable on project B. And that's not because of bad optimization, but just because the projects are calculating different things.

Those cross-project comparison sheets were useful in ancient times, but now we have seen all those developments and should learn our lesson, even if that requires dropping some old thinking, cross-project comparison sheets and 'combined' stats.


wolfbert wrote:
The original idea of distributed computing was that volunteers donate (unused) computing resources to an endeavor (project) they find worthwhile. Therefore, the most meaningful measure of progress, contribution and success comes from this endeavor - number of climate model iterations computed, prime numbers found, proteins folded, encryption keys tried, core hours - you name it.

This is fairly easy to determine by the project, it's meaningful for participants, and it can be put in stats tables. Competitions are also still possible (and the organizers can make their own rules how to compare projects). Cheating is rather pointless, as project validation will accept only valid/confirmed work units.

I completely agree and a number of projects is already doing that. Unfortunately, it's not always as simple as one might think (e.g., counting primes would not be a very good measure for work done at PrimeGrid and they in fact needed many years to find a good credit system). And it cannot be done by the BOINC developers.

The BOINC server code should only include a very easy standard credit system (i.e. fixed number of points per task, which is sufficient for test projects and projects with fixed-length tasks... and, to be honest, is already more fair than a lottery for variable-length tasks as long as their runtime is really not predictable) and make it as easy as possible to replace with a more accurate system as soon as the project administrators have an idea.
8) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2016 (Message 69359)
Posted 1 May 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Dear fellow crunchers,

after a hacker had caused havoc on the server and the Pentathlon pages had been offline for one week, the BOINC Pentathlon 2016 has now been rescheduled to start one month later, i.e. on 05 June 2016 (see also this announcement). Registration for teams that wanted to participate but could not sign up in time is open again until 28 May.
9) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69238)
Posted 28 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Any publicity is good publicity. If a BOINC cheating expose article hit the front page of reddit, there would likely be an influx of new users joining the BOINC platform. Our community hit the front page of reddit for a couple hours and we managed to recruit approx 1000 users in a single day to our team.

Well, I know that kind of short-term influx of new users. It's not very sustainable and doesn't work forever. But that's another point for a 'clash of cultures' type of thread.

There's no point worrying about BOINC projects shutting down - more projects will likely be created in the future to fill their place, and the benefits of free computing power from volunteers likely exceeds inconveniences caused by cheaters especially as we iron out how to make cheating less effective in this thread.

We'll see. There are less active projects nowadays than there used to be a couple of years ago and less new projects are established. There's no such thing as infinite growth.

Gridcoin has not imposed new problems/issues onto the BOINC platform - the problems rising to the surface have existed for years now (with 0 discussion by the BOINC community nevermind the Gridcoin community). If it had not been Gridcoin, then CharityEngine or inter-team competitions would have exposed the same cheaters.

There is one major difference. Yes, the cheaters that claimed high rankings in the long-term statistics had their 15 minutes of fame. Punch in the faces of all honest crunchers who care about the stats. But most cases, their credit was zeroed some time after the cheating was revealed, so that fame is not sustainable. In short-term competitions, the cheaters lose their credibility; no one will take them serious in future competitions, if they are allowed to take part at all. Just like with doping in sports. On the contrary, according to one of your earlier posts, those who cheated in order to get more Gridcoins do retain their benefit (the same might apply for that CharityEngine thing, I don't know anything about that).

---

Just found this thread on cosmology@home that's relevant to this topic: http://www.cosmologyathome.org/forum_thread.php?id=7341#20601

As implied by an ATLAS@Home admin, the LHC-related projects may also have a new credit system soon, which is another step toward 'project-defined credit'.
10) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2016 (Message 69162)
Posted 26 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Dear fellow crunchers,

bad news today. As you may already have noticed, seti-germany.de and the Pentathlon pages have been down since Saturday. The server was hacked and we do not know yet when everything will be back online. Of course, we do not want to bring it back up just to see it being hacked again during the Pentathlon. Additional security measures are being implemented right now.

I really feel bad to have to say this, but we will have to postpone this year's Pentathlon to make sure that we can provide the usual service (stats, daily bulletin, project announcements) and all teams have the opportunity to sign up. We can not give a new date right now, but we hope that we can run it still in May or early June, as we definitely want to avoid the hot summer months.

We will post a proper announcement as soon as we have a new date. Really sorry for the chaos this year.
11) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69140)
Posted 24 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
The justification for holding onto the team membership requirement is purely for the ability to kick cheating users from the team.

[...]

When an user's CPID is detected as invalid due to leaving the team, it'll be 24hrs before the next superblock can register their returned presence in the team, so if a cheater doesn't notice they may be prevented from earning rewards for days.

OK, so it's basically the only straw you can catch until the lifeboats arrive. I understand.


Why don't you remove the projects from the whitelist before the damage is done, i.e. removing all projects where cheating occured?

The damage done by a single project isn't significant - 26 projects & 50k Gridcoin per day = 1923 GRC per project. So say someone is faking 25% of an individual project's team RAC they're earning approx $4.80/day fraudulently.

The damage done to Gridcoin might insignificant, but how about the damage done to the project and the BOINC platform as a whole? If a small project without lots of experience and manpower fails to react to cheating fast enough, it'll lose both the enthusiast crunchers (because they feel that the project is treating them unfairly and is not well-maintained) and the Gridcoiners (because they don't get Gridcoins anymore), leaving only a few participants really dedicated to that project. It's easy to lose credibility, but hard to get it back.

As soon as (again) someone finds a way to manipulate results in order to get more credit, projects might decide that distributed computing is not the way to go for them anymore. In more extreme cases, there might be bad publicity for BOINC. We already had someone distributing BOINC via a trojan. Also, a long-time top producer at SETI@home did run BOINC on school computers without permission (since he did not benefit financially, he was seen as a modern Robin Hood by some commentators... imagine the same story if he got money or Gridcoins for all that work).

I'm not saying that all of this will happen just because someone offers cryptocoins for credits (after all, my examples are from the past when there was no *coin). But if people are cheating when there are only funny points and badges at stake, why should they stop if there is additional incentive?


Somehow a picture crosses my mind that the people behind Gridcoin try to build an additional floor onto a house (BOINC), but while they know a lot about their building materials (cryptocurrencies), they don't yet understand the statics and the architecture of the house.

There's no company behind the development of Gridcoin, just a group of volunteers (from around the world) that have been arguing over the consensus mechanisms, reward mechanism calculations, how to store BOINC statistics on the blockchain, and more.

According to the points you mention, that group of volunteers appears to have discussed all the stuff that seems to be important for cryptocurrencies, but not that much about the problems and unwanted effects of it on BOINC. Exactly what I wanted to describe with my picture.

Sure a large quantity of Gridcoin users likely haven't gone through the BOINC documentation to thoroughly understand it, but I doubt the majority of everyday BOINC users have done the same either.

You're certainly right, and the majority (of all users including Gridcoin users) is also playing fair. The problems are caused by a small minority which understands BOINC well enough to know all the problems and use that knowledge for bad things. Anyone doing more than just crunching should understand BOINC and the influence of their actions on BOINC as good as that minority.
12) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69040)
Posted 18 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
I think he brings it up because "cheating" can impact Gridcoin payouts. So, there is a financial and stability issue with their cryptocurrency payout system that they are probably hoping to fix. But, I have not read up on it much as I don't care about cryptos all that much.

Indeed, the main reasons for pursuing the discussion/development of the 3rd gen credit system are the following:
1. Cheating the BOINC credit system allows users to earn Gridcoin fraudulently - this undermines the integrity of Gridcoin's Distributed Proof of Research reward mechanism.
2. I'm campaigning for the removal of the team 'gridcoin' membership requirement in the gridcoin system in order for all BOINC users to earn Gridcoin, not just one team. Due to the recent discovery of cheaters within and outwidth team Gridcoin, the team membership requirement has temporarily been deemed a neccessary evil in order for team founders to kick discovered cheaters from team gridcoin (cutting off cheaters from earning gridcoin fraudulently).
3. Despite team founders being able to kick users from the team, it's difficult to prove cheating (especially when users hide their hosts). This places team founder users in a difficult centralized position of power.

To be honest, I don't know too many details of how Gridcoin works and my interest in it is not strong enough that I'd want to do much research on it. But as I might just not see the obvious, I'd like to know where exactly you see that team membership requirement being necessary to hold off cheaters from getting Gridcoins.

What happens with a user's Gridcoins if he leaves or is kicked from team Gridcoin? Does he lose them? Does he keep them but can't use them for anything anymore? If he keeps them and still can use them, the "damage" has already been done at the time the user is kicked.

Additionally, AFAIK, there's no way to prohibit a kicked team member joining the team again (it can only be closed for all not-members). Even if there was a way, the cheater might just create a new account.


If cheating gets unmanageable, removing individual affected projects from the whitelist (ending distribution of gridcoin for work completed for a project) is a highly likely outcome.

Well, although the Gridcoin homepage says "The BOINC RAC system has existed for many years and has proven uncheatable.", it just hasn't. I've been BOINCing for more than ten years and I've seen more or less massive cheating going on all the time. Over the years, almost all projects were affected. Faked benchmarks on projects using the first, benchmark-based credit system, and the CreditNew lottery in recent days were only the tip of the iceberg. In at least one case, even the scientific results were compromised... and back then, there were only credits and badges, Gridcoins might be an additional incentive for some.

Why don't you remove the projects from the whitelist before the damage is done, i.e. removing all projects where cheating occured?

Somehow a picture crosses my mind that the people behind Gridcoin try to build an additional floor onto a house (BOINC), but while they know a lot about their building materials (cryptocurrencies), they don't yet understand the statics and the architecture of the house.
13) Message boards : Questions and problems : [Discussion] 4th Generation BOINC credit system (Message 69039)
Posted 18 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
I would like to start with a list of requirements a new CreditSystem should have. I would also like to centralize the discussion and not have two places with different people (here and at cryptocointalk).

Lastly I wold also like to point to this proposal that came shortly after the rise of BitcoinUtopia: http://boinc.berkeley.edu/trac/wiki/CreditGeneralized

I think there are at least two expectations on what a credit system should do:

First, of course, users should be able to compare themselves with each other. Without some numbers reflecting the work they have done, there would be no competition, no challenges or races, no funny badges, etc., i.e. less incentive for many users.

Second, from a more scientific point of view, it would be nice to have some project-wide and even BOINC-wide numbers reflecting the performance in FLOPS, bandwidth, etc. Publications could easily compare the project's performance with supercomputers and if someone asks about the total performance of the BOINC network, we would have a real answer instead of a rough estimate.

Obviously, to match the second expectation, more quantities have to be measured, just like the CreditGeneralized proposal suggests. To match the first expectation, however, the credit system should follow the KISS principle. The CreditGeneralized proposal definitely isn't KISS and opens new cans of worms:

- If only FLOPs are counted, how to deal with applications doing mostly integer arithmetics? Should they just grant less credit in this category or should we (again) count some FLOP equivalent unit rather than actual operations on application level? Of course, if we wanted to count actual operations, all applications would have to be modified, which certainly is not going to happen.

- Regarding storage usage: Some projects need lots of disk space just to store some data that is not used all the time, while there are also applications that do many read and write operations. What exactly would we want to measure? Why? How?

- Regarding network usage: How to stop a funny guy reattaching to Rosetta@home after every finished workunit, just to have their huge database file downloaded every time again in order to get as many network credit as possible? Just don't count sticky files? If yes, why?

- Any number measured on the client side might be cheated. Just saying, "We'll figure out how to make them cheat-resistant", doesn't solve this problem. It might be possible to make it ridiculously hard to manipulate the measurements, but I'm sure that eventually someone will come up with a manipulated BOINC client or find out how the measured numbers are transferred to the server.


Therefore, I'd suggest disentangling the "competitive" and the "scientific" credit systems:

- Measure FLOPS, memory usage, disk usage, network usage, whatever you like, on per-host level. The results might be shown on the host details page (like it is already the case for some information, e.g. hostname, on_frac, active_frac). Compute the total numbers on project level and show them on the server status or the home page. Don't create any leader boards with it and don't export per-user or per-team data to keep the incentive for cheaters as low as possible.

- For competitive reasons, keep track of something that is close to what the CreditGeneralized proposal calls "Project-defined credit". Leave it entirely to the projects in which way they want to grant credits. For most projects, this would likely be just what they already do. For new projects, make it as easy as possible for the administrators to implement their own system. As a starting point, the most easy credit system you can think of (i.e., just counting valid workunits, which is of course unfair in case of workunits with variable lengths... but, to be honest, the current CreditNew "system" also works best for fixed-length workunits) might be set as a standard until the administrators implement something they like better.

Of course, this approach only bypasses the first of the "undesirable consequences" mentioned in the CreditGeneralized proposal (i.e., "Credit no longer measures FLOPs", which is not a problem any more because FLOPs can be derived from the separated FLOPS measurements instead).

It fixes neither "The [BOINC-wide] competitive balance between volunteers is lost." nor "The competitive balance between projects is lost.". But I think that these goals are unreachable anyway (hard enough to find fair solutions for multiple subprojects of the same project) and they're not even too problematic:

- Obviously no problem for single-project competitions. If you are crunching project A instead of project B because you get "more credit" on A, you simply don't get any credit on B and won't win any competition there.

- It is already proven that multi-project competitions that work nicely without "cross-project parity" are possible (DC Vault, Formula BOINC, BOINC Pentathlon). More traditional third-party long-term stats may apply any normalization they like, normalization doesn't need to be done by the projects. Of course, they're also free to continue showing meaningless sums (the sum is just like giving 'three fruit' to someone... he won't know if he will be full after eating them before he learns if it's three strawberries or one melon and two oranges).

- In real life, there are similar problems for which you can find arbitrarily many 'fair' solutions depending on the point of view. Should the football player really earn lots of money because he can do his job for a shorter period of time and has a higher injury risk than the old people's nurse? Life still goes on.

Finally, my suggestion doesn't attack the problem that the "Project-defined credit" might be cheatable. But as it leaves the credit system up to the individual projects, there's neither a general solution nor should that topic be discussed here. However, my suggested as-simple-as-possible standard system is at least resistant to manipulation of benchmarks or computing time.
14) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2016 (Message 68852)
Posted 7 Apr 2016 by Profile pschoefer
Post:


The seventh BOINC Pentathlon is around the corner. As usual, SETI.Germany invites all BOINC teams to find out which team copes best with the challenges of five disciplines at five projects between May 5 and May 19.

While there are no major rule changes this year, it is ensured that there will be only one winner after the shared gold medal last year. Furthermore, the Pentathlon pages have undergone an optical refresh, all the rules and later on the stats are there, as well. Many questions are answered in the FAQ.

Each team that wants to participate can sign up and enter four project suggestions using this registration form until April 27. Later registration is possible until May 2, but without the possibility of suggesting projects.

Therefore, explore the interest within your team and sign up. We're looking forward to your participation in the BOINC Pentathlon! :)
15) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2015 (Message 61438)
Posted 7 Apr 2015 by Profile pschoefer
Post:


Once again, SETI.Germany invites all BOINC teams to the BOINC Pentathlon. For the sixth time, the winner is battled out in five disciplines at five projects between May 5 and May 19.

After the introduction of Marathon and Sprint in the last couple of years, there will be a new discipline in this year, again. Details will be announced prior to the beginning of the Pentathlon, for now I can reveal that it will run for at least five days at a CPU project.

Each team that wants to participate has to sign up using the registration form at http://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/anmeldung.php until April 27. The teams may suggest one GPU project and three CPU projects, please see this page for details.

All information is available on the Pentathlon page at http://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/22_en_Welcome.html, while you can find the answers to many questions in our FAQ.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Pentathlon! :)
16) Message boards : The Lounge : BOINC Pentathlon 2014 (Message 53525)
Posted 5 Apr 2014 by Profile pschoefer
Post:


For the fifth time, SETI.Germany invites all BOINC teams to the BOINC Pentathlon, a competition inspired by the Pentathlon in ancient Greece. Between May 5 and May 19, five disciplines at five different BOINC projects are held to find the overall winner.

Each team that wants to participate has to sign up using the registration form at http://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/anmeldung.php. Registration is open until April 27.

For all but the Marathon discipline, the teams may suggest their favorite project when signing up. A list of possible projects is available at http://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/25_en_Disciplines.html, you may suggest other projects as long as you think they are able to handle the increased load. Note that projects that were part of last year's Pentathlon are excluded for this year.

For more information including the full rules, please visit the BOINC Pentathlon page at http://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/22_en_Welcome.html.

Please spread the word and gauge the interest within your team. Looking forward to seeing you at the Pentathlon! :)
17) Message boards : News : BOINC 7.0 released to public (Message 43347)
Posted 9 Apr 2012 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
There's also a massive work fetch bug. Was this version tested before releasing it to public?
18) Message boards : BOINC client : massive work fetch bug in 7.0.25 (Message 43342)
Posted 9 Apr 2012 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
Just switched to the new recommended version... and it's definitely nothing I would recommend. ;)

My system: i7 980X + ATI HD 5850 + NVIDIA GTX 470
Active projects:
- PrimeGrid (only on NVIDIA)
- Collatz Conjecture (only on ATI, so ATI is currently idle because of downtime)
- WUProp@Home
- EDGeS@Home (CPU; Resource Share 0, because I used it as backup project during last PrimeGrid Challenge and did not change it back afterwards)

Work buffer settings:
<work_buf_min_days>0.0000000</work_buf_min_days>
<work_buf_additional_days>0.0100000</work_buf_additional_days>

While PG on NVIDIA and WUProp (nci) run nicely, the client keeps requesting EDGeS work for CPU and ATI... of course, it can't get work for ATI there, but it gets one more CPU WU on each request. 320 WUs and counting, about 12 hours of work according to BOINC's own estimation... that's 0.5 days, way more than 0.01 days.

At least I did a backup before the update, so I can switch back to 6.12.34 for now.
19) Message boards : BOINC client : Connected Frac = -1.000000 (Message 12087)
Posted 15 Aug 2007 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
I will test another project, as soon as I can access it again, to see if it is a problem with the host and/or PrimeGrid's server-update.

Works well with ABC@home, so it is a PrimeGrid problem. I'll ask over there again.
20) Message boards : BOINC client : Connected Frac = -1.000000 (Message 12050)
Posted 13 Aug 2007 by Profile pschoefer
Post:
The connected frac should have nothing to do with anything. It is suposed to measure how often you are connected to the internet, but it has never worked properly on *nix and is not reliable on windows. So as far as I know it is ignored. The other time stats may have a bearing on your problem though.

The other time stats are normal, and since this is the only difference to my other hosts, I thought this might be the problem.
OK, this host is running WinXP on a RAM Disk, while the other ones are on Win2k, but before last week it worked well...

I will test another project, as soon as I can access it again, to see if it is a problem with the host and/or PrimeGrid's server-update.


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