Please, STOP wasting our CPU time!

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Message 506631 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 18:00:13 UTC

Thank you to all those which reacted to my post.

There would be many things to say, but the discussion would digress too much, out of this thread and even out of the number crunching topic.

For economic reasons, all my crunchers are second-hand equipment, or rebuilds from mainly used parts, and only 7 are dedicated to Seti-only.
Old systems, CPU and power supplies are not the best choice in terms of efficiency, and like allready said, Seti project probably needs more new hardware for itself instead of (poor efficiency) volunteer CPU cycles.
Another reason for me to stop crunching for Seti.

To be honest, If I decide to send some money to help, that will be for some humane association.

Bets wishes to all.

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Message 506793 - Posted: 21 Jan 2007, 23:22:14 UTC - in response to Message 506481.  


They count on your addiction, they think it's a game for almost everybody.
They don't have to care about participants needs and wants anymore, they got more than they can handle anyways.
Specially they're not interested in your complaints or requests for information about the project, for them you're just the milk cow, doing the work and should sh*t up and just give them more donations !

Oh, be serious. Nobody "needs" to do this. It doesn't put money in my pocket, or impress women, or bring longevity.

SETI (and BOINC) is first and foremost a way to harvest unused clocks on all of those computers out there that are mostly waiting for a user to do something.

That doesn't mean that it isn't interesting, or that it isn't cool to be part of the search, but it does mean that, for the most part, it is just a game.
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Message 506900 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 2:14:52 UTC - in response to Message 506877.  


I must say I'm not sure that there is any actual research been done at all anymore. It's not like we see any of it or hear anything about it.

Perhaps they did finish the project when the classic SETI ended and this is just a sceem to get money. I mean, they are sending out those e-mails begging for money, like any spam e-mail company.


Hmmmmmmm, so I guess getting that new multi-bean receiver, which is able to see further into space, was wasted effort. Or getting seti_enhanced onine so the new data could be processed was wasted effort.

Shesh.

Conspiracies theories are everywhere.

[rant mode on]

How can any advancement be made without somebody crying foul, they are taking away my credits, or they are taking too much time to process a workunit?

Any before anybody jumps down my throat about the credits crack, think about it this way. The #1 complaint people had when the enhanced app came online was that it took so long. So to cut down on the amount of time it took to crunch, Eric and crew needed to optimize it. That in turn cut down on the the processing time as well as the overall advantage the 3rd party optimized apps had over the stock app in terms of credit, even though the overall effiency of the whole system was better for it.

Each time an advance is made, somebody has to claim foul play, because something doesn't work like it used too.

You ask for something better, and then when they deliver, you turn around and slap them down for it later. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

[rant mode off]

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Message 506907 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 2:51:30 UTC
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 3:00:44 UTC

Oh why bother, deleted
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Message 506913 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 3:32:36 UTC - in response to Message 506900.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 3:33:40 UTC


I must say I'm not sure that there is any actual research been done at all anymore. It's not like we see any of it or hear anything about it.

Perhaps they did finish the project when the classic SETI ended and this is just a sceem to get money. I mean, they are sending out those e-mails begging for money, like any spam e-mail company.


Hmmmmmmm, so I guess getting that new multi-bean receiver, which is able to see further into space, was wasted effort. Or getting seti_enhanced onine so the new data could be processed was wasted effort.

Shesh.

Conspiracies theories are everywhere.

[rant mode on]

How can any advancement be made without somebody crying foul, they are taking away my credits, or they are taking too much time to process a workunit?

Any before anybody jumps down my throat about the credits crack, think about it this way. The #1 complaint people had when the enhanced app came online was that it took so long. So to cut down on the amount of time it took to crunch, Eric and crew needed to optimize it. That in turn cut down on the the processing time as well as the overall advantage the 3rd party optimized apps had over the stock app in terms of credit, even though the overall effiency of the whole system was better for it.

Each time an advance is made, somebody has to claim foul play, because something doesn't work like it used too.

You ask for something better, and then when they deliver, you turn around and slap them down for it later. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

[rant mode off]


And they don't even have money enough to pay a decent salary to the very qualified people, they have in the staff, that very little staff of people, who work for the fun of it, as the others, who can't afford that, are leaving.

And they don't even have the sufficient hardware to run the whole enchilada on, only obsolete hardware, they need to kick and work around to solve the problems, as their networking is eating up the most of their budget; that budget they don't have any money to fill with; because people are demanding WU's to run.

So, why bother at all? Why not find some other projects out there, projects which are well funded, and give your cycles to them?

And thank you, Rom! Good to put things a bit in perspective.


"I'm trying to maintain a shred of dignity in this world." - Me

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Message 506961 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 5:01:32 UTC - in response to Message 506877.  

I must say I'm not sure that there is any actual research been done at all anymore. It's not like we see any of it or hear anything about it.

Perhaps they did finish the project when the classic SETI ended and this is just a sceem to get money. I mean, they are sending out those e-mails begging for money, like any spam e-mail company.


Crystallize, if that is truly your opinion, please leave Seti and donate your computer time to some other project you deem more worthy. But in the meantime, please spare the rest of us from your attitude.
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Message 506990 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 8:15:34 UTC - in response to Message 505148.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 8:19:05 UTC


Your agruments that a simple system have no errors is not correct. What happens if you install everything on one system, and anything goes wrong ? - I would hear whining you...

If you read the technical news, you see that the most common failures caused by old hardware wich produces failures. Have I said, that is cost money ;-)


Dear Dotsch
Thanks for your long and analitic answer.
I have apreciated it.

Of course I have not written that a simple system have no errors.
But a simplier is very probably with less errors.
Do you know Occam's razor?

In any case, one part or one million, it is the SYSTEM that must work.
Think at a roket with a million parts.
The probability than one part is broken is high.
If this part is important, the whole sistem is stopped.
And if this happens 4 times a week, ther is something wrong in the architetture.

I understand the budget problem but please, you in USA (I don't want to make a general case, it's only to explain) for every problem you ask for money.
We in europe, and Italy best, are able to do our job with less money (but not zero) and more fantasy:-)
And we follow simplier solutions, that perhaps are more fault tollerant.

I dont agree with the theory of the bad and old hardware.
You can have it ... but the system must not loose data.
Of course a system can have an hardware fault but the software must detect it in the I/O recovery routine. If this is possible (and must be possible in a good operating system) you stop the program without loosing data or at max loosing the transaction in use. But not one or two hour of job of a projet with a millions of user sending data every second.
May I tell it without offending anybody?

I have read that the problem is that the sistem loose a "mount" ....
But is it possible to detect it in real time?
It must be a code solution in a normal error recovery routine.

I have written 18 years ago the software in C for a ground satellite station (meteo) on VAX and that sistem is running 24*7 (maybe also today) without loosing data even if in theese years some disk has broken and was changed. But in the recovery section I have wrote something to use automatically the system with one disk insted of two. I know that must be possible to detect an I/O error and stop the job without loosing or wasting data.

So I don't want to offend nobody but older or not, any disk can broke (even if it has one week) but the SYSTEM (Harware components and Software components) must be fault tollerant.
Ok, you have UPS, you have a lot of things but as I can understand you don't have an error recovery routine able to detect the lost of a "mount" among different servers. This routine, if this is the problem, is not "expencive", if think. So I hope that you can fix the software problem and also have money to have newer hardware.

Your sincerely,
Franz

[edited some grammatical and sintattical errors]
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Message 506996 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 8:45:49 UTC - in response to Message 506990.  

In any case, one part or one million, it is the SYSTEM that must work.
Think at a roket with a million parts.
The probability than one part is broken is high.
If this part is important, the whole sistem is stopped.
And if this happens 4 times a week, ther is something wrong in the architetture.

The problem is, that it is extremly complicated to find out and seperate the right WUs wich got "trashed" by a transport failure from the wrong computed...
So a overhead of some percent invalid (wrong computation, transport errorrs,...) is a good solution. The WU are not lost, a other system computes them again.
But, I think, that you have to tolerate, that some WUs are invalid and send out to other users.


I understand the budget problem but please, you in USA (I don't want to make a general case, it's only to explain) for every problem you ask for money.
We in europe, and Italy best, are able to do our job with less money (but not zero) and more fantasy:-)
And we follow simplier solutions, that perhaps are more fault tollerant.

No. I am from europe, too. Some things are only able to resovle with money...
See my previous posting...


I dont agree with the theory of the bad and old hardware.
You can have it ... but the system must not loose data.
Of course a system can have an hardware fault but the software must detect it in the I/O recovery routine. If this is possible (and must be possible in a good operating system) you stop the program without loosing data or at max loosing the transaction in use. But not one or two hour of job of a projet with a millions of user sending data every second.

Hm, that what you wan't is not a mission critical high availability solution, this is fault tolerant....
Also, it is extremly compilcated to a IO recovery, like you have sugested. Every HA system have a short outage if it switch to the other cluster nodes for example. Some operations at the BOINC server is on the filesystem level, IO recovery should work, but it also could be that you loose some data, but it depends on the sort of crash...


I have read that the problem is that the sistem loose a "mount" ....
But is it possible to detect it in real time?
It must be a code solution in a normal error recovery routine.

I have written 18 years ago the software in C for a ground satellite station (meteo) on VAX and that sistem is running 24*7 (maybe also today) without loosing data even if in theese years some disk has broken and was changed. But in the recovery section I have wrote something to use automatically the system with one disk insted of two. I know that must be possible to detect an I/O error and stop the job without loosing or wasting data.

I am shure, this was a VAX cluster. I am shure was quite expensive.
Also you could not generalize that any data lost can easly could be done by easy codings.
Some systems have there complexity. It is complex by the setup, the enviroment and the configuration and could not changed easyly.
In general every system has is own problems...


So I don't want to offend nobody but older or not, any disk can broke (even if it has one week) but the SYSTEM (Harware components and Software components) must be fault tollerant.
Ok, you have UPS, you have a lot of things but as I can understand you don't have an error recovery routine able to detect the lost of a "mount" among different servers. This routine, if this is the problem, is not "expencive", if think. So I hope that you can fix the software problem and also have money to have newer hardware.

Mirrored boot disk or a UPS are penuts, if you wan't a real redundancy you should spend money for the redundant servers and storage...

The problem is that a loosing mount sometimes requires an reboot...
IMHO, a detection of a failed mount would not resolve it.

It is not as easy as you think...

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Message 507004 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 9:21:43 UTC

I think we have to look at it, not from our side, but from Berkeley's. The system they designed is to get the data processed. To get this done their redundancy is if it is not done sucesfully by the first four replications then issue more replicated copies, until it is processed and at least two results strongly agree, or the pre-determined (10 for Seti) number of failed results is reached.

For the system to work as cheaply as possible at Berkeley, or any other project, that means the minimum number of servers and storage devises. If some results fail no matter what the cause, comms, bad host or server mount lost for a brief period, it doesn't matter to the scientfic output.

What we would like so that we don't loose a few credits, probably almost immeasurable over the lifespan of Seti@Home, is a mission critical very high availabilty system costing what? Certainly not attainable on Berkeley's or any other projects budget.

Over the last month I guess there aren't many users that got more than two or three validation errors per computer. Most of us have probably lost more than that by our own failures, in my case installing Vista trial version, incorrectly editing files, OCing too far, installing a suspect RAM module to comfirm good/faulty.

Andy
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Message 507092 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 14:29:49 UTC - in response to Message 506996.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 15:26:55 UTC



The problem is that a loosing mount sometimes requires an reboot...
IMHO, a detection of a failed mount would not resolve it.

It is not as easy as you think...



Reboot is not a problem.
The problem is to stop upload as soon as possible, as the system detect the mount error or any I/O error that can cause the lost of data.
This shuld be done automatically and not manually but I don't want to learn cats how to catch mices so I stop here :).

The system is now jet able to cumulate job (upload ad download) so two hours of wait for a reboot of recovery error are not tragic.
Tragic is to send results for hours, discoverin later that workunits are lost.

Bye,
Franz

PS: yes, VAX cluster were expencive but every hardware was so, 20 years ago.
First 286 here, with 20 mega HD (mega, not giga) in 1985 costs about 9'000 swiss franks (o seven millions of Italian Liras).


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Message 507126 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 16:39:09 UTC - in response to Message 507092.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 16:42:10 UTC

... The problem is to stop upload as soon as possible, as the system detect the mount error or any I/O error that can cause the lost of data.
This shuld be done automatically and not manually ...

Berkeley do have some automated system checks to call up Matt or whomever.

I guess they could divert some more effort into adding a few more to allow for various multiple servers or network failures.

However, losing your filesystem(!) is usually a rare enough event and so serious that you usually suffer the fault once or at most twice. Then you fix it or get new hardware to fix it.

Sounds like the real problem is overload of the hardware or overloaded network switches or just plain simple old hardware locking out.


A proper robust (hardware) fix is a better idea than trying to program around the hardware for the servers themselves not working.

Trying to achieve fault-tolerance and "high availabilty" is very difficult and very time consuming. You can never anticipate all the faults or all of the future...


Happy crunchin',
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Message 507128 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 16:50:44 UTC - in response to Message 506877.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 16:53:17 UTC

I must say I'm not sure that there is any actual research been done at all anymore. It's not like we see any of it or hear anything about it.

Yep, the very few people there are all rather busy actually doing the research. Take a look on the alpha and beta lists for boinc and s@h to see for yourself.


Perhaps they did finish the project when the classic SETI ended and this is just a sceem to get money. I mean, they are sending out those e-mails begging for money, like any spam e-mail company.

Take a look on the science results page. All our results are going into the science database to then be compared/searched for a future reobservation run. Meanwhile, there are good new never-before-done ideas going into the "near real time persistancy checker" to check through the science database in near real-time!

In short, lots and all on impossibly meagre funds. I abandoned that style of life because I could get much more money/freedom elsewhere for much less restricted time and for just as much fun. The work at s@h/Berkeley is more a devotion than anything else!


Try a few more salts to up the solution density a little and:
Re-crystalise?

Happy crunchin',
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Message 507142 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 17:51:35 UTC - in response to Message 507128.  

Francesco...

I skimmed through most of this thread so if someone else has already made this suggestion I apologize.

Not that long ago I, too, began receiving validation errors. And like you, I was upset that the CPU time I had invested in those rejected WUs had gone to waste. I posted my protests on the message board and one response suggested that I thoroughly test my RAM using memtest86+.

I've never disabled POST memory testing on any machine I've ever owned, and the particular machine I have running BOINC never reported any errors on boot-up. Yet when I ran memtest86+ on this machine it reported numerous memory errors!

You can find downloads of memtest86+ at memtest.org (as well as the source code, if you're so inclined). The pre-compiled code is available in three forms: an ISO image file (for burning a bootable CD), a binary image file, and an installable package for creating a bootable floppy. I went the ISO route and had no problems creating the CD.

By the way, since I've replaced the two SIMM modules that produced errors (and after running memtest86+ again to ensure a clean bill of health), I haven't experienced any validation errors whatsoever.

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Message 507144 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 17:53:14 UTC - in response to Message 507092.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 17:55:09 UTC



The problem is that a loosing mount sometimes requires an reboot...
IMHO, a detection of a failed mount would not resolve it.

It is not as easy as you think...


Reboot is not a problem.
The problem is to stop upload as soon as possible, as the system detect the mount error or any I/O error that can cause the lost of data.
This shuld be done automatically and not manually but I don't want to learn cats how to catch mices so I stop here :).

It is not as trivial as you think. Loosing a mount is a extreme mayor problem which caused blocking IO and a lot of troubles. Also not so easy to detect this problems...


The system is now jet able to cumulate job (upload ad download) so two hours of wait for a reboot of recovery error are not tragic.
Tragic is to send results for hours, discoverin later that workunits are lost.

Also, not as easy as you think, too.
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Message 507145 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 17:58:41 UTC - in response to Message 507004.  

I think we have to look at it, not from our side, but from Berkeley's. The system they designed is to get the data processed. To get this done their redundancy is if it is not done sucesfully by the first four replications then issue more replicated copies, until it is processed and at least two results strongly agree, or the pre-determined (10 for Seti) number of failed results is reached.

For the system to work as cheaply as possible at Berkeley, or any other project, that means the minimum number of servers and storage devises. If some results fail no matter what the cause, comms, bad host or server mount lost for a brief period, it doesn't matter to the scientfic output.

What we would like so that we don't loose a few credits, probably almost immeasurable over the lifespan of Seti@Home, is a mission critical very high availabilty system costing what? Certainly not attainable on Berkeley's or any other projects budget.

Over the last month I guess there aren't many users that got more than two or three validation errors per computer. Most of us have probably lost more than that by our own failures, in my case installing Vista trial version, incorrectly editing files, OCing too far, installing a suspect RAM module to comfirm good/faulty.

Andy


Full Ack !
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Message 507174 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 19:25:06 UTC - in response to Message 506990.  


I understand the budget problem but please, you in USA (I don't want to make a general case, it's only to explain) for every problem you ask for money.
We in europe, and Italy best, are able to do our job with less money (but not zero) and more fantasy:-)

If I understand what you are saying, there is some amount of money that is simply not enough, even in Italy.

... and that the only reason Americans would ever ask for more money is because they want more money.
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Message 507177 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 19:31:34 UTC - in response to Message 507174.  


I understand the budget problem but please, you in USA (I don't want to make a general case, it's only to explain) for every problem you ask for money.
We in europe, and Italy best, are able to do our job with less money (but not zero) and more fantasy:-)

If I understand what you are saying, there is some amount of money that is simply not enough, even in Italy.

... and that the only reason Americans would ever ask for more money is because they want more money.

I hope you are correct! I thought he meant that in Italy they would have found a way to do it with what they already have, but we in the US just say it can't be done without more money.

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Message 507187 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 20:16:28 UTC - in response to Message 507004.  


What we would like so that we don't loose a few credits, probably almost immeasurable over the lifespan of Seti@Home, is a mission critical very high availabilty system costing what? Certainly not attainable on Berkeley's or any other projects budget.

(much edited)

Andy

The alternative is to give the validator a way to "defer" validation when a mount is lost -- if that is in fact the problem.

High-availability is one way to solve this. The other way is to make it fail more gracefully.
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Message 507227 - Posted: 22 Jan 2007, 22:00:40 UTC - in response to Message 507187.  
Last modified: 22 Jan 2007, 22:01:15 UTC

What we would like so that we don't loose a few credits, probably almost immeasurable over the lifespan of Seti@Home, is a mission critical very high availabilty system costing what? Certainly not attainable on Berkeley's or any other projects budget.
(much edited)
Andy


The problem with the 'mount' is one that is not normal. There is already in place a system to send an email to the 'Repair Crew' to come fix the Servers when needed. The problem lately is that the failures have fallen below the threshold that sends the emails. That level is being reviewed. Problem is we don't want the 'Repair Crew' running down for false alarms. So it may take some tweaking to find the right level.

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Message 507334 - Posted: 23 Jan 2007, 2:50:40 UTC - in response to Message 507300.  
Last modified: 23 Jan 2007, 2:54:46 UTC

What makes it even more interesting is the person doing this carries (currently) a RAC of close to 1400. The cartoon does not really tell of motivation/disatifaction it implies that Seti is only greedy.

What is more obvious is as a result of many people watching and letting Seti Staff know that the validation issues are not a major issue (currently). Completed Results are safe in the Database Server.

I understand about hardware on its way out... At a point in time was responsible to resolve problems for 250+ servers and 10000 workstations...

Where I live has had major several major storms and from november to december I lost 5 machines and two UPS's (power hits). The silly question I have is how do I tell APC that their surge suppressor failed to a protect a PII 350 and I want a replacement... IT should be good for a laugh on their part...

So in all this silliness, I guess that some people still do not understand the seriousness of the problem. Matt and Eric are actually searching for pieces and parts to replace kyrten, klaatu and koloth (those machines are around a decade+ years old)... It is easier on our side, as "we" do not walk into the office in the morning wondering what Server we have to KICK to keep everyone happy... After that, figure out what progress we can make towards finding ET...

So while many that have funding for "their" job can sit and say this or that... I have been at a point that I did not know that hours I worked were going to end up in a paycheck. I also know that unemployment is a bad thing...

I Believe in Seti, I believe in BOINC...



So yes, I and others have to make choices... I hope the choice is Seti...

Pappa


You know, I had originally typed out a rather lengthy response to your little 'cartoon' of the Berkeley folks, but in the end I decided it just wasn't worth starting a flame-war over. I honestly just find it very sad that somebody who is so very bitter and resentful would choose to continue donating resources to a project they obviously loathe. Why not simply unplug the darn thing?



Please consider a Donation to the Seti Project.

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