Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Tue, 04 Nov 2008

BOINC (can't think of a pun)

I seem to have missed out on reporting the completion of the OGR-25 project a few days back. I ran it at various times from when it started until the end. In the last few days it was hard to get any work units, so I started running Folding@home again. Anyway, OGR-25 finished, having confirmed that the known result was the optimal one. They are now moving on to the next few levels with the hope of taking less time due to better algorithms. From the stats it looks like a lot of people have dropped out, probably due to not having upgraded their clients. I bet there are thousands of PCs in offices out there that had it installed at some time, but then the person moved on.

Now that's over I would prefer to donate my processor cycles to projects with more benefit to mankind, mainly in the medical field, but I will consider other sciences. Folding@home is worthy, but it's a bit of a hack to get it running optimally, using all processor cores. You have to run two instances on my dual-core. There are scripts to do this, but then you are still limited in how you can monitor progress. There is also the fact that those with suitable graphics cards can process much more efficiently. I've got an older ATI card that I ought to install to try and get 3D working again, but it's not suitable for such GPU processing.

A response to a comment I posted on /. about OGR suggested that BOINC may be more suitable. It's from the people who did SETI@home many years ago. I ran that for a while too, but had doubts about the chances of finding aliens. They developed a later client that could run many types of project. The choice is somewhat overwhelming and it's hard to work out which might be worthiest, but I am concentrating on another protein project called Rosetta. You have the option to specify what percentage of time goes on each project. It would be useful to know how much processing a typical unit of each requires to work out what is suitable for older computers like my Duron that are not on so much.

BOINC is available in the Ubuntu repositories along with BOINC Manager that gives you a nice front end showing current progress and allowing full control of what, when and how much you process. I like to keep track of what I have done via my statistics and so have signed up to BOINCstats that links in with the manager and combines points from all my computers and projects. It took me a while to get it all running properly, but it's looking good now. I now have plenty of stats. I'm unlikely to climb very high in the charts compared to those running faster computers and dedicated 'farms', but I'm making a contribution.

[22:09] | [] | Comments | G
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