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totoshi User profile image
Hey folks,

I'm 28 years old and I live in Hildesheim, Germany.

I'm interesting in DC 'cause I see a high potential in...


00:01 June 27, 2007 Internal Testing, Scheduler Unavailable
Some internal tests are being run. So, the scheduler is temporarily unavailable to those on the Internet. This may cause some access denied messages to show up in your BOINC manager.

10:39 June 22, 2007 SciLINC Update
When development of the SciLINC project began it had four primary goals. Edited for brevity, they were:

  1. Increase public access to nationally significant scientific literature.
  2. Enhance the usefulness of digitized materials by creating a Web repository of scanned literature, keywords, and online resources with tools for searching and analysis.
  3. Create an educational tool for learning about plant life. While the screensaver application is indexing keywords, the participant's computer will display information about plant life within the United States and around the world. The information displayed will describe each plant name or term currently being indexed on the participant's computer, and will include descriptive data, images, maps, and the annotated outlinks for that term.
  4. Provide a model for adopting public-resource computing applications within the library community.

Botanicus is doing a wonderful job of meeting goals 1 and 2 including processing data generated by SciLINC. The project has certainly also meet goal 4.

We have learned much about grid-based, distributed, public-resource computing applications and the BOINC architecture. There are thoughts and plans for analyses down the road that will be much more computationally intensive than the original SciLINC analysis and we look forward in time to bringing these projects to you.

While the amount of data that SciLINC has to analyze will increase greatly in the days ahead it does not appear that increasing the volume of information is going to improve the user experience of running the SciLINC client.

It has been suggested that we repackage our data into single files instead of uploading and downloading 50 files per workunit as we currently do. This suggestion has been heeded and implemented. We had planned on doing it before SciLINC was rolled out but scheduling prevented it and the community discovered the project before we were ready to announce it. We expect that testing will show the repackaging lessens the load placed upon the core BOINC client software. But, it does not change the amount of data being transferred.

The truth is that the workunits fly by so rapidly that implementing goal 3 never became realistic.

When development of SciLINC began, the project lead's understanding was that from a technological and economic standpoint it makes sense to use public-resource computing in place of an internal grid computing architecture whenever less than a gigabyte of data is required per cpu-day of computation. Using the BOINC framework to transfer the data to clients, SciLINC meets this volume-of-computation guideline.

However, our brief experience with the dedicated BOINC community over the last couple weeks has shown that, to the community these numbers may differ somewhat. In its original form SciLINC would have needed to transfer roughly 250MiB of compressed data in order to occupy a modern CPU for a day. This would expand to nearly 660MiB of input data. Then the client would need to upload about 44MiB of results which would compress to 17MiB. These numbers have only grown as SciLINC has been improved and made more efficient.

This is not acceptable to the average BOINC user.

Looking at the numbers from the perspective of someone on dial-up, if they set SciLINC to only 1% of their BOINC time, this would be roughly 15 minutes out of a day. For this 15 minutes they would have needed to download around 2.5MiB of data. This may not be a huge issue for broadband users, but if someone is on dial-up (as we have learned many BOINC fans still are) the transfer time would exceed the computation time.

So, where are we now?

Even if the transfer:credit ratios were acceptable to the community, we do not have enough data to realistically occupy hundred or thousands of BOINC enthusiasts for a lengthy period of time. As we have already seen on various community boards a relatively small amount of credit is earned for a comparatively large load on their system resources. Any computational and transport related improvements that have been tested have only resulted in more data needing to be transferred.

As stated above, we are investigating the possibility of performing much more computationally intensive analyses in the months ahead. It is expected that these will be a much better fit for a BOINC project than the current task of text-indexing and taxonomic analysis which has a relatively low mathematical complexity.

Because of this it has been decided that for now all SciLINC computation will be performed internally. When we have something with a better credit-reward ratio (and nicer screensaver) it will be made available to the community.

Thank you again for your interest and support. We look forward to working with you in the future.

The SciLINC Team

This has been cross-posted to the forums for discussion and feedback.

11:20 June 21, 2007 Brief Outage Resolved
We experienced a short time down this morning. MySQL was accidentally shutdown for about 40 minutes. Everything should be back to normal now.

11:38 June 20, 2007 User Profile Image Uploading Fixed
User profile images should now upload properly. Thank you Zain Upton and Paul@home for bringing this to our attention.

The details are in a message on our Question and Answer forums.

2:07 June 20, 2007 Forums Online
The forums are now online. Please use the Question and Answers section for reporting any bugs or problems. There is also a special message board for general discussion.

We will be checking them in the morning. For now... sleep.


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Copyright © 2007 Missouri Botanical Garden
Written by Ron Parker