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Author Topic: CPUs for Science!
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 09:53      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Your computer can donate CPU time to the research project of your choice. Additional benefits include a screensaver that displays the model your computer is running. The software runs in the background and doesn't seem to have interfered with other functions yet. Be a geek, help science do sciency things.

Follow this link Download the program, install it, then pick your project(s). I'm doing three right now: climate prediction, protein folding, and helping CERN with some menial processing chores.

I was directed to this function from the Richard Dawkins Forum, they have a BOINC team that you can join if you like. Or Geek Culture could build their own team. Not sure what the teams are good for yet, but there does seem to be some spirit of competition. I'm just happy to be able to play a role in furthering ongoing research.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
WinterSolstice

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 934

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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 10:03      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Those projects are a lot of fun - I used to contribute heavily to [email protected] when I had my render farm up.

I used SETI as a sort of room heater. Kept the house nice and toasty all winter long [Big Grin]

I'm tempted to start up again... if we can get a few people into it, I'll try to convince my wife [Wink]

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

Posts: 1192 | From: Los Angeles | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Richard Wolf VI
SuperBlabberMouth!
Member # 4993

Icon 10 posted February 21, 2007 10:52      Profile for Richard Wolf VI   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I always have been interested in these projects, they're closer of what Steve Jobs was thinking of Interpersonal Computing.

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The same old iWanToUseaMac... Who am I fooling? I'm getting a Wii now, iWanToUseaMac isn't :P
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Posts: 1356 | From: Bogotá, Colombia | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
Member # 6919

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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 16:05      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's exciting that my computer is modeling weather systems and folding proteins while I sleep. It might be somewhat cooler if it modeled lingerie and folded my laundry, but hey, we take what we can get.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 17:04            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You want one of those iMac babes, don't you?

I've had UD Agent running for most of the last two years, and it does present an annoying problem: Process Explorer's CPU meter shows my CPU at 100% all the time. So when I do have a program that's playing up, it won't show.

I've never convinced Mark Russinovich to mark background tasks in a different colour in the CPU graph. Pity. He might add it in the future, maybe ...

Thankfully, many slow programs also show an elevated level of kernel activity that I can spot, but they don't all (depending what's gone wrong).

It also makes me wonder. See, people keep saying that Mac OS X kills G3 Macs. Do background tasks in Windows (ones whose CPU priority is 4 or less) also allow the CPU to slow down, or do these programs keep the CPU at maximum power? See, my PC is at 100% all day and night, and has been for two years, which is far, far more strain than Mac OS X puts on a Mac (since OS X is mostly idle when it's idle) and my CPU isn't dead.

My StarMax has been running 24/7 for three to four years solid now and again, no death (nothing wearing out either, it's a very resilient beast for such a cheap clone). (I don't know if OS 9 has any CPU speed reduction, but it has no idle process).

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ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 18:02      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The BOINC site was very upfront about problems that could arrise as a result of donating CPU time and some solutions to the problems. Primary sources of hardware damage are dust accumulation in the fans and heat sinks. I'd imagine that there's some additional mechanical strain on the bearings in the fan as well. Regular inspection and removal of dust solves most of the issues.

I'm one of those nutters who gets off on science, so I'm going to leave my computer on all the time until the weather gets warmer. Then I'll have to scale things back a bit because I don't have AC here and the heat load on my computer might become excessive. You can opt for settings that allow you to contribute while keeping your computer turned off when not in use. BOINC also allows for pausing projects in progress and that would probably allow you to see what your CPU's really up to when the need arises.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 19:34      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ooo, they have Rosetta... I actually saw some Rosetta data last year. One of the people involved in the project came to my school and gave a seminar. Out of the thousands of hits calculated from people's spare CPU cycles they had only a handful that were close to correct, but that's still better than most protein structure prediction programs can do, especially once you factor in side chains (which the Rosetta people are doing).

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 20:29      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm watching a Rosetta model run right now. It's fun watching it work and I'm in Biochem this semester, so that only adds to the excitement.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Astronomer Jedi
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 21:19      Profile for Astronomer Jedi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've been a member of [email protected] for years now, since before it started on this unified Boinc system. I think it's great, but I don't really like to leave my system on all night, especially in summer. The only time it really gets a workout is when I'm in the other room watching TV or out a work. Other than that it chews up gaming resources.

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Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

Posts: 606 | From: Perth, Western Australia | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 22:35            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The PSU fan on this got noisy (still working, just noisy) so I replaced it with the one from my dad's old PC which is virtually the same as mine. Then I realised the CPU fan was a bit noisy too, so I swapped those over. And got out all the dust while I was at it.

My StarMax, though, is doing a lot better -- still works perfectly (apart from the floppy drive) -- although the PC is right over the radiator so that might be drying out the oil more.

I used to run SETI on the Mac, too; I forget why I stopped, but I think SETI stopped working and I got pissed with it and wiped it off. I also ran the distributed.net client on the Mac. The PC used to have [email protected] on but, for some reason, I swapped to the United Devices Agent. I think [email protected] was deactivated when I reinstalled Windows and El Reg had a UD team that I decided I would join instead. Now I have a twee little blue pill icon in my tray and a CPU graph that's jammed on 100% :P

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted February 21, 2007 22:46      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd suggest the [email protected] (spelling) project because it's running out of my old Uni. All the campus labs are running it, as is the Physics department's new beowulf cluster.

It's about gravational field research, and unified theory.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 22, 2007 00:36      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On a related note: There are certain advantages to running these thinggies on your PCs.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted February 22, 2007 20:45      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I ran Seti for several years, untill I had to replace 2 fans on my laptop...

But besides that, its a great thing to do. Id do it again if I had another computer.

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Use the Force, Luke.

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The real Stealth
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Icon 10 posted February 24, 2007 09:56      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love these projects... My seystem primarily does Rosetta work (my mother doesnt mind me leaving it on when she sees that it is sequencing HIV protiens {she is a RN}) and also does Spinhenge, [email protected], and CERN projects... I love it... unfortunately I need to reinstall but hey I can put up with that (to much work for my own projects has screwed windows & I should have done my yearly reinstall 6 months ago anyway)...

About the teams.... If you look on the sites they give credit to individuals who have done work for their project. They also credit "teams" these "Teams" are groups working together to help them out... If GC wants to get a team going I would join in a heartbeat... just let me know.

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The one and only "§†eal†h the Fallen One"...Between Your life And mine are Three realities, Yours, The real one, and Mine. They they form a bridge shapped in the letters D-O-_-N-O-T-_-C-R-O-S-S.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted February 24, 2007 13:20      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
that would be cool

I have never done any of that stuff - but my work G5 2GHz DP is on all night (it has various tasks to do at set times, like back ups and system clones) but it is otherwise basically idle in that time

and my home iMac G5 is often on all night by design or accident - would not take much to make it a rule to not turn it off - especially if it was actually doing something good at the time...

I'd be up for a GC @home cpu use team...

Anyone else up for it? We could actually do some good and maybe even get a bit of a "Big Up" for GC too

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

Posts: 1937 | From: Suffolk England | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 24, 2007 18:06      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd be happy to join any team established by GC. I guess it's up to Nitrozac and/or Snaggy to get the ball rolling or give the okay- I'll not infringe on naming rights. I'd commit to contributing up to 50% of my time.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted February 24, 2007 19:46            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Of course, we'd all have to agree on what cause to go for. Personally I prefer medecine to physics, and I'm not very bothered about SETI -- if we do find any aliens, I don't suppose they'd want to meet us.
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ScholasticSpastic
Highlie
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Icon 1 posted February 24, 2007 23:33      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I get a kick out of running [email protected] and it fits your medicine criteria. If a consensus is reached, I'll pitch in regardless. It doesn't have to be rosetta.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
nerdwithnofriends
Uber Geek
Member # 3773

Icon 1 posted February 26, 2007 13:37      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I already have an account, which runs on my iMac during the day (I turn it off at night because the fan bugs me when it changes speed).

I'm currently doing [email protected], and I also have [email protected] running, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be processing.

I might join a team, but what are the benefits? I'll go check that out right now and decide for myself.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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