BOINC roadmap / wish list

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Profile David Anderson
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Message 94009 - Posted: 4 Dec 2019, 23:42:10 UTC

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Profile Keith Myers
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Message 94011 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 0:52:27 UTC - in response to Message 94009.  

I like the roadmap goals. I would put fan noise and heat generation at the top of the list for retention of volunteers.

I see a constant flux of posts about objectionable fan noise when a BOINC task starts up on both cpu and gpus.

Second would be out of the box ease of use for newcomer volunteers.
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Message 94012 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 2:55:48 UTC - in response to Message 94009.  

I like the ideas about making it easier for scientists to use BOINC. From what I see, there is a shortage of good new projects. In many cases, there are more crunchers than work in interesting areas. If more scientists can access BOINC, we each have a better chance of getting what we consider to be "good" work.

As for fan noise, video playback, etc. that is probably important for some people. But I use dedicated Linux machines that have the right amount of cooling and no contention with other applications, so I would not compromise performance for that. In fact, I would prefer higher CPU (and GPU) utilization where possible. So such techniques to minimize impact on non-BOINC processes should be made optional for those who want them.

I am glad you are thinking about these things. Good luck.
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Message 94016 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 6:20:44 UTC - in response to Message 94012.  

But we can't be considered "normal" users. We have dedicated crunching farms where noise and heat is expected. But we are a minority. To increase the number of volunteers overall, we must appeal to the masses who would have at most one machine and have just discovered the possibility of crunching for science when the machine is not being used for traditional computer use.

These are the typical users which find screaming fans and hot rooms objectionable. And the ones we must cultivate into dedicated BOINC crunchers.
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Richard Haselgrove
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Message 94017 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 8:24:33 UTC

Where are we going to actually "discuss" this?

A lot is made of fan noise in the paper. I think we need to distinguish between

CPU fans
GPU fans
Integrated laptop fans

I think CPU fans are fairly well understood, and the paper talks about things like power state management. I think we're on track there.

I suspect GPU fans are a big problem. So far as I know, the GPU manufacturers have only supplied software tools which generate apps which operate in 'fire and forget' mode: once a scientific application is launched, it grabs as many resources (shaders) as it can find, and runs them at a speed/power which can only be controlled externally, not by the program itself. In the spirit of the paper, BOINC needs to reach out to the GPU manufacturers and persuade them to implement internal power state management, similar to the CPU tools.

And laptop fans are probably the biggest problem of all. They are physically closer to the user, and more intrusive if the user's foreground application has an audio component (movies or music). I think most user complaints are likely to come from this group, and I don't have any answers.
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Message 94026 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 16:12:41 UTC - in response to Message 94017.  

So far as I know, the GPU manufacturers have only supplied software tools which generate apps which operate in 'fire and forget' mode: once a scientific application is launched, it grabs as many resources (shaders) as it can find, and runs them at a speed/power which can only be controlled externally, not by the program itself.
Sapphire has Trixx which allows the user to set a custom fan speed (via a curve) which is used for everything - gaming and BOINC. One can also set several profiles (up to 5) to quickly switch to in case one needs more rigorous cooling.

EVGA has similar software.
MSI has Afterburner which can be used on any GPU whose manufacturer doesn't have its own software.
Radeon Settings (part of the Radeon drivers) have their own custom setup options via RS->Gaming->Global Settings.
Please do not private message me for tech support, these will be ignored!
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Message 94028 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 16:36:46 UTC - in response to Message 94026.  

Trixx, EVGA and MSI are all examples of what I was meaning by 'controlled externally'. I don't see how they could, even hypothetically, be integrated into a future BOINC client and controlled through a unified BOINC GUI.
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Message 94032 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 17:43:15 UTC - in response to Message 94028.  

But we don't know how much power reduction can be achieved via BOINC or any other technique. That may argue for trying it, but I don't think it guarantees any success. It takes a certain amount of power to calculate a certain amount of work. Laptops were not designed for DC.

If BOINC can make it better, good for it. But I would not be too surprised if not much more is possible than just adjusting the fan based on the GPU temperature, as is done now. Otherwise, it suggests that both Linux and Microsoft are falling down on the job of running their stuff efficiently. That is possible, but can BOINC improve on it?
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Message 94034 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 18:30:17 UTC - in response to Message 94032.  

It takes a certain amount of power to calculate a certain amount of work.
No, it takes a certain amount of energy - which is the product of power and time. We can reduce the power by increasing the time - slowing the clock, using fewer components, pausing at intervals. If we want to accommodate users who want a quiet life (less fan noise), we have to tone down the 'need for speed'.
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Message 94035 - Posted: 5 Dec 2019, 18:52:55 UTC - in response to Message 94034.  
Last modified: 5 Dec 2019, 18:53:35 UTC

No, it takes a certain amount of energy - which is the product of power and time.

I figured someone would catch me on that. But the question is what can BOINC do to control those variables?
I suggest a "laptop mode" that cuts the number of cores to half of the total. That will be more reliable than anything else.
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Message 94057 - Posted: 6 Dec 2019, 16:09:43 UTC - in response to Message 94011.  

I like the roadmap goals. I would put fan noise and heat generation at the top of the list for retention of volunteers.

Second would be out of the box ease of use for newcomer volunteers.


Second, for me, is the participation of the projects admins to forums
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Message 94059 - Posted: 6 Dec 2019, 16:50:05 UTC - in response to Message 94057.  

Second, for me, is the participation of the projects admins to forums


Good luck with that one!

For a short while cpdn had someone in post who had as part of her job description keeping up to date information on current projects on the forums. It was appreciated both by the crunchers and mods on the boards. Sadly, she wasn't replaced when leaving for another job.
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boboviz
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Message 94069 - Posted: 7 Dec 2019, 10:33:21 UTC - in response to Message 94059.  
Last modified: 7 Dec 2019, 10:33:47 UTC

Second, for me, is the participation of the projects admins to forums


Good luck with that one!

For example, an automatic mail system (configured during server installation) that send messages to admins, for example, about posts on forum or if the queue is empty of if a server daemon is down...
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ProDigit

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Message 94108 - Posted: 8 Dec 2019, 20:57:41 UTC

My 2ct:

Fan noise: The data on fan speeds, is accessible for CPU and GPU fans in Linux and Windows.
It's probably not very hard to write a script, that calculates and arranges GPU load depending on fan speed; but would only work with active GPUs.

As far as GPU throttling, the most effective way for GPUs is adjust parallel processes. GPUs nowadays have anywhere from 6 to 6000 cores. The easiest way to adjust for that, is limit the parallel processes; or do like folding@home; adjust each GPU task to it's GPU core count; and leave the power adjustment to overclocking utilities (power cap), like nvidia-smi (in Linux), or XOC or afterburner in Windows.

Android GPUs don't add that much to crunching. Their GPUs, especially Mali 400 GPUs, are slow, and consume a lot of power.
The more modern Snapdragon chipsets have GPUs that are just as powerful as the CPU part, so you'll be looking at a 2x increase; with the potential of frying the cellphone when CPU and GPU tasks are done at the same time at worst, and at best, probably drain the battery of the phone, as many phones do not draw enough current to support both GPU and CPU crunching.
But GPU only would be an option (for now)...
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boboviz
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Message 95194 - Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 11:01:57 UTC - in response to Message 94108.  

Some days ago i helped one of our (Boinc Italy) volunteer, who could not upload files and had some other problems.
He used Boinc 5, cause he thinked that Boinc auto-update (like Firefox, for example).
After update to 7.14.2, all solved.

I know that there are problems to implement auto-update (even if i don't remember which problems), but this is a welcome feature.
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Message 95196 - Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 13:00:11 UTC - in response to Message 95194.  

Some days ago i helped one of our (Boinc Italy) volunteer, who could not upload files and had some other problems.
He used Boinc 5, cause he thinked that Boinc auto-update (like Firefox, for example).
After update to 7.14.2, all solved.

I know that there are problems to implement auto-update (even if i don't remember which problems), but this is a welcome feature.


I don't know what happens on windows. Certainly under WINE there is no automagical update. On Linux updates do occur if BOINC is installed via package manager. If you roll your own from a testing version on Git Hub then unsurprisingly you are on your own!
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Message 95686 - Posted: 4 Feb 2020, 22:17:53 UTC - in response to Message 94009.  

I started using Boinc with a single core CPU. Switching projects was the only way to participate in multiple projects. There was a drawback. Sometimes a task was almost finished to report it in time before the deadline and then projects were switched :-(
Now I have a multi core CPU and for me it makes switching projects unnecessary.
So my thing for the wish list is: don' t switch projects but select for each project how many cores (threads) it can use. If this can be made possible, I will participate in more than 1 project again.

There is also another thing that can be improved. The manager shows for each task how much time it will take to finish (estimated). I let Boinc use 30% of my CPU and those estimated times should be multiplied by 100/30 in my case.
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Message boards : News : BOINC roadmap / wish list

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