BOINC Q&A — 09/15/2006

Well, since Martin was the only one to post any questions before I go to bed I guess the top ten will be his questions for the week.

When do we get to crunch on the new ALFA WUs?
When next for a reobservation run?
How well do the s@h-enhanced recrunched WUs compare to the s@h-classic results?

Ouch, these questions are best left to the S@H group. I had meant for this to be about the BOINC software itself since I really can’t speak for any of the projects.

I suppose I could attempt to clear up any confusion in what my roll is.

First off let me start out by saying that David A. manages multiple projects, of which S@H and BOINC are but two of them. I was hired to be a BOINC developer.

At the time I was hired bug investigations and fixes for SETIBOINC was divided up amongst the existing team which also had to manage SETI Classic. SETI Classic kept people pretty busy most of the time as people were running from one fire to the next. Under the existing model SETIBOINC was going to take awhile to finish up, so after discussing things over with David we decided that the best course of action would be to have me to head up the SETIBOINC migration until the migration was complete. SETIBOINC completed its migration in December 2005 and so my regular participation in the day to day happenings with S@H came to an end.

My role these days mostly involve helping David design and implement new features that will help drive further adoption by both new projects and new participants. I also manage the build, test, and release processes for BOINC.

These days I know just about as much as you all do about what S@H is up too. When David and I talk, in our daily phone calls, it is all about what is going on with BOINC.

What happened to utilising GPUs for processing WUs? (Are single precision floats good enough?)

Starting with BOINC 5.6 it will detect CPU features such as SSE and 3DNow as well as video cards. All the demand for video card detection has come from the community at large, so I don’t know of any project that is actively developing a client.

Whether single precision floats are good enough, that is up to the project.

I believe the biggest problem is actually the memory bus bandwidth between the systems main memory and the video card. Until PCI-Express was released the video card bus was design to push data to the video card as quickly as possible but didn’t do very well transferring data from the video card to system memory. It is my understanding that PCI-Express can handle the loads that DC apps will generate.

I suspect that once BOINC 5.6 is released we’ll be able to start publishing video card and CPU feature data to the stat sites and let them start generating some useful graphs for projects to look at. Once the projects know what is out there they might be able to justify the expense of specialized clients.

What of continued funding for Boinc and for s@h?

I can only speak about BOINC here, but I believe BOINC has secured funding for a couple of years.

Well, off to bed now.

—– Rom