Considerations about the future of BOINC GPU platform

Message boards : Promotion : Considerations about the future of BOINC GPU platform
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zioriga

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Joined: 3 Nov 06
Posts: 19
Italy
Message 22962 - Posted: 9 Feb 2009, 6:15:10 UTC

I’m a little confused about the future of the BOINC GPU platform:
I mean the problem of supporting NVidia and/or ATI and/or the future S3 cards.

The initial development was for NVidia cards and ATI cards couldn’t
attach to gpu projects.

Now there is a first ATI project (Milkyway – see
http://milkyway.cs.rpi.edu/milkyway/forum_thread.php?id=551#9716 and
http://www.zslip.com/) and NVidia gpu powered computers cannot attach.



Is this the future of the GPU BOINC computing ????
2, or more, worlds that cannot cooperate ?????
or, worst, that compete one against the other ???
or the program developer must write a more than geometrical progression (CPU, OS, GPU)
program versions ?????

I don’t think this is the spirit of the BOINC platform !!
As much as I know, and I can be wrong, there is a gpu common platform: opencl
which is supported from both Nvidia and ATI. May be this the correct answer
to this prolification, at least, of different gpu constructors ?????


Is this platform supported by BOINC ??? And/or can BOINC force the use of
a common gpu software platform ???
I think the Science will be very gratefull for this simplification.
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Les Bayliss
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Message 22963 - Posted: 9 Feb 2009, 6:28:25 UTC

ATI hasn't supported cuda in the past, which is why it hasn't been available for their cards.
See this post, which is a little dated now, but illustrates the point.

It would be better to ask on Milkyway about their cuda support for one card, and lack of it for the other.

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Profile Jord
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Message 22965 - Posted: 9 Feb 2009, 7:07:08 UTC - in response to Message 22962.  

Now there is a first ATI project (Milkyway – see
http://milkyway.cs.rpi.edu/milkyway/forum_thread.php?id=551#9716 and
http://www.zslip.com/) and NVidia gpu powered computers cannot attach.

Had you actually read the correct thread on the Milkyway forums, you would have seen that this ATI application is made by a user. It doesn't work the same way as CUDA does, heck, if one has the correct OS (64bit Windows), CPU (SSE3) and one of the right ATI cards (HD38x0 and 48x0), one could even use BOINC 5.10 for it...

The BOINC version used does not need support for finding a co-processor, that'll all be done by the DLL file that's included with this user made application.

The problem with ATI is, they have approached about all of the projects and BOINC, but told everyone that they could get hardware to test things with, but didn't have manpower or money to port over applications or give further support for making things run on an ATI card.

So if the BOINC developers wanted ATI support, they'd have to go figure it all out by themselves, while the projects would have to port over their applications to the totally unknown Brook+ environment without so much as a bit of support from ATI.

In the mean time Nvidia said, "here's some hardware and oh, we have some support people for you as well who will work together with your people to come up with the right drivers and port over the new applications if and when they are needed".

What choice would you have made? Remember that most of the projects run a shoestring operation, they don't bulk in money and people. BOINC itself is programmed mainly by 3 people, with 2 to 3 volunteers who add in code.

As much as I know, and I can be wrong, there is a gpu common platform: opencl which is supported from both Nvidia and ATI.

OpenCL (not to be confused with OpenGL) is still in its infancy. I wouldn't expect anything tangible from it for the next 6 to 9 months.
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Message boards : Promotion : Considerations about the future of BOINC GPU platform

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