Posts by Andrew Hingston

1) Message boards : BOINC Manager : BBC Climate Change Experiment (Message 3057)
Posted 14 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
It has now been announced that this project will not be awarding BOINC credits. Most users will prefer to wait until the regular CPDN project starts issuing these units.

The BBC project was not really aimed at existing BOINC participants (and yes, they should have thought about them sooner).
2) Message boards : BOINC Manager : multi-core processors? (Message 3052)
Posted 14 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
BOINC is designed to allow for hyper-threading and multi-cores, and there is a setting in 'general preferences' that enables you to control how many processors are used. BOINC sees HT as two separate processors. For BOINC purposes, each 'processor' runs independently.

Of course, this is a illusion. An HT processor cannot run two applications as fast as one, but experience in CPDN with HT in the early days was that there was an output gain of about 10 - 15% from running two WUs in parallel rather than sequentially.

This is a non technical answer, and actual experience will vary with OS, processor, and project. If you look on various boards you will find discussions of this. There is a CPDN one here.
3) Message boards : BOINC Manager : BBC Climate Change Experiment (Message 3051)
Posted 14 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
There is a news item about this on the front page - the embargo was lifted at 09.00 UTC.

It refers to a simplified version of BOINC, which reportedly has a different directory structure. Existing BOINC users are strongly advised therefore not to be tempted by the prominent download button on the experiment homepage but to attach in the usual way (to The size of the workunit does mean, however, that it is unsuitable for running multi-project.

This is a major boost for the BOINC community backed by a major media organisation. I am sure we will all be welcoming these new participants into the wonderful world of BOINC. They will, however, need a lot of reassurance as the BOINC aspect is apparently being deliberately underplayed by the BBC in order not to scare them off, and they may be confused by things that are second nature to people who have come by the previous routes which tend to stress BOINC first.
4) Message boards : BOINC Manager : I miss the old SETI@Home (Message 2985)
Posted 8 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston

Have you been able to attach to another BOINC project? If you can, that will give your computer something useful to do, if you cannot it would indicate that there is something else wrong that people might be able to help with.
5) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Unable to connect (Message 2954)
Posted 3 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
THere is no one answer to these problems, as you will find browsing this forum. For example, see this thread. Try the simple things first, though.

1. Close BOINC Manager with File/exit (don't just close the window). Then restart BOINC Manager manually. If that fixes it, remove BOINC from your startup folder and remember to start BOINC yourself after booting.

2. If that is no good, remove BOINC from startup and reboot, then start BOINC.

If those fail, you might like to read some old threads on this and try some of the things suggested. But by all means come back for further help.
6) Message boards : Web interfaces : Separate control of separate projects (Message 2911)
Posted 1 Feb 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
Have you explored the possibility of using the option for location specific preferences to achieve what you want?
7) Message boards : BOINC client : Scheduler and CPDN (Message 2867)
Posted 29 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
I agree, Arnaud. Even with a 1 GHz machine, the computer shouldn't enter EDF mode for the CPDN model for some time (and anyway the user would be well advised to detach from the other projects or keep the machine on longer).

Nobody who thought about it would ever have supposed that scheduling would be easy to implement satisfactorily, and when BOINC launched the two main projects were SETI and CPDN, so it was always appreciated that these would have to be reconciled.
8) Message boards : BOINC client : Scheduler and CPDN (Message 2862)
Posted 29 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
I seem to recall a recent posting from Carl at CPDN saying that it was going to tackle the time estimate problem, but he is very busy trying to meet deadlines on a project development at the moment. But the estimated duration did get a lot more inaccurate with BOINC 5 - it isn't that the project itself did it. CPDN is sufficiently different that a method that works for SETI, say, won't necessarily be applicable to CPDN.

As for CPDN needing fast machines, it is true that climate and weather has always wanted machines at the cutting edge. That's in the nature of the subject, because the complexity of the real world is beyond anything current computing can match. It is a pity if that is putting people off, because anyone with a machine of 1 GHz or so can usefully participate. On the other hand, it is necessary that they understand what they are taking on. The advice to join more than one project is good for those coming from SETI classic, but if you have a three or four year old computer switched on for a few hours a day, it isn't realistic to combine CPDN with three or four other projects.
9) Message boards : BOINC client : BOINC is NOT robust against BSOD / lockups (Message 2827)
Posted 28 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
A number of people have have problems with CPDN and DirectX in particular. This is something that the project team will need to look into, but they are very busy at the moment on other things. In the meantime, the only protection is to suspend BOINC when playing games like this.

There is not much you can do to recover lost work unless you have a backup. Regular backups are worthwhile with CPDN anyway because of the long crunching times. When making a backup, suspend or close BOINC (depending on your method) and backup the whole folder. Restoration from backup isn't a problem with CPDN even if the server state for that unit is flagged as error. However with other projects it is more problematic as those WUs may have been returned since the backup.
10) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Set resource sharing from gui (Message 2826)
Posted 28 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
It's actually done through your account screen on one of the project websites. Go there and select the preferences for that project.

It is best to explain with a simple example.

By default each project is given a resource share of 100. If you are attached to three projects, each project then gets 100/300 of the time, or one third. Change one project's share to 200, and it will get 200/400, or one half. BOINC Manager will need to communicate with the server to get this revised figure, so use update in the projects tab to get it to take effect immediately.

It follows that it doesn't matter how you do it, but you only need to change one project and BOINC will do the calculation. So you could change one project to a very small number, or the other to a high one - the effect is the same.
11) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Properly Shutting Down BOINC? (Message 2775)
Posted 26 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
There were undoubtedly problems with early versions of BOINC, which failed to detect that an application was still running before shutting down. For that reason the recommendation was to suspend prior to exiting. But recent discussion on the CPDN board, where the application was especially vulnerable to this, suggests that the problem has been fixed unless you are running Win98/ME. I only bothered to suspend BOINC itself, though, not individual projects, and there would not normally be a need to do that when shutting down.

On the other hand, suspending prior to exit would be a way of controlling any problems when starting BOINC. If you have any problems there, removing BOINC from the startup folder, and manually starting BOINC before setting it to run would ensure that you could satisfy yourself that each element was performing properly.
12) Message boards : BOINC client : Reinstalling PC and want to keep project work (Message 2684)
Posted 21 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
The safest and easiest method is to copy the entire BOINC folder, then when the time comes reinstall BOINC into that folder. The only catch is that if you copy onto CD/DVD, the files will become read only - you will need to make sure that write permissions are reset when you copy back to the hard drive.
13) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Activities suspended under Work tab (Message 2579)
Posted 13 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
There's a project specific suspend button, too, in the projects tab. All too easy to click on that by accident.
14) Message boards : BOINC client : when do we get credit? (Message 2551)
Posted 12 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
Since Shane is attached to a number of projects we should add that the credit award system varies. For example, in climateprediction credits are awarded on the 'trickles' up to the server. These are sent automatically, and the credit run is currently done daily.
15) Message boards : Web interfaces : Should we have a poll facility on the standard boinc web site (Message 2453)
Posted 8 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
It has proved a useful feature of the CPDN phpBB.
16) Message boards : BOINC Manager : got no more work units from some projects (Message 2418)
Posted 6 Jan 2006 by Profile Andrew Hingston
BOINC 5.2 isn't too good at calculating how long a CPDN unit will take, so it may well have gone into panic mode unnecessarily. But it will sort itself out in the end.
17) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Connection Problems (Message 2191)
Posted 23 Dec 2005 by Profile Andrew Hingston

I know you just wanted to let off steam, but you know the trouble with these megacorporations like BOINC. David Anderson and his bloated staff of overpaid minions are too busy at festive parties, or planning their next exotic trip, to bother and just leave it to the ordinary guys like me and the others on this board to make their excuses for them.

Seriously, though, you will have understood that there are very few people actually paid to develop BOINC or the individual and autonomous projects which use it. They have enough trouble scraping together the money for the servers and development time they need, and cannot possibly give individual help to the many thousands taking part in running the BOINC projects. The guidance is still a little lacking, but that is because like much else it is entirely a volunteer effort.

1. The problem you are having with the message 'cannot connect to localhost' is frustrating. You seem to have looked at this and other posts and I won't try to repeat the advice, but the complication is that it might be because two programs are not talking to each other, or possibly that for some reason one of them isn't running. But the good news is that shutting down BOINC completely using File/Exit and restarting, and failing that removing BOINC from the boot sequence and rebooting, then starting BOINC manually, generally fixes things. If not, or you need step by step help, then somebody will probably take pity on you, but remember they are giving of their free time to do so and it best to ask single questions and be as specific as you can with your query.

2. As for your questions about Einstein, SETI or other individual projects, I'm afraid you'll have to take them to the board for that project. I expect you will find that they have been asked and answered many times.
18) Message boards : BOINC Manager : Help with Resource Sharing (Message 2150)
Posted 20 Dec 2005 by Profile Andrew Hingston
The one other thing about resource sharing that hasn't been touched on, but you need to be aware of if trying to optimise behaviour, is checkpointing - again, look in the Wiki for the definition. What that means is that each project has its own save points (or not at all). You can defer them in some cases, but that is the only control you have. Close the application program, and on restart it will run from the last save point, not necessarily where you got to last time. Once you've realised that, it is obvious that not only should you leave the application in memory when preempted by another project if you possibly can, but frequent switching is best avoided, especially if you shut down your machine regularly. Although the default may be 60 or 100 minutes, there is no reason why it cannot be much longer.

There seem to be a few people who signed up to several projects, set the switching time to very short intervals, and had 'leave in memory' set to no. Then wondered why they never seemed to complete work units.
19) Message boards : BOINC client : 64 bit boinc for XP (Message 2135)
Posted 20 Dec 2005 by Profile Andrew Hingston
Remember that BOINC is not the part that does the work. There is interest in a 64-bit application for climateprediction, which is a very intensive computing task, but the devs ran into problems. Look over on those boards to learn more.
20) Message boards : BOINC client : Won't connect to localhost (Message 2134)
Posted 20 Dec 2005 by Profile Andrew Hingston
Are these forums the only support for this product?

No, the normal support forums are the ones on the project boards. Help can be given there on all aspects, and it is possible to view your account to see not only what processor and OS you have but whether the server has been recording any errors. In general, you should start there, and post to this board only if the problem has been identified as relating to the BOINC parts of the software, and people on the project board cannot solve your problems. That will be rare.

It is difficult to give you much help at the moment without more information. The lockups might be caused by the SETI program, though the inability to connect to localhost suggests that boinc.exe has crashed. What you describe is not common. Out of the many thousands of people running BOINC, some have experienced problems with different things and so it is easy to get the impression that the software is 'unstable', but that would be misleading.

When BOINC is running, you should be able to see boincmger.exe, boinc.exe, and one or more tasks relating to the application(s), in your case SETI. When you get the message 'cannot connect to localhost', which of these can you find?

When you say it locks up, are there any messages? Have you checked task manager at these times? Does it happen when you are doing particular things, or, say, when the screensaver starts?

Look in the stderrae.txt file in your BOINC directory. Is there anything there relating to the times you were having trouble?

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