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OS X Operating Systems Science

MacResearch Introduces OpenMacGrid 123

Posted by kdawson
Drew McCormack writes "MacResearch.org has just introduced OpenMacGrid. It is a distributed computing grid similar to SETI@home, but unlike other networks, it is built up entirely of Macs utilizing Xgrid, and access is unrestricted. Anyone with Mac OS X 10.4 can donate cycles, and any scientist with a reasonable project can burn cycles."
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MacResearch Introduces OpenMacGrid

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  • Y'know, I imagine stuff like this would be nice to speed up the rendering farms in movie studios. Either make 'm pay for the access or give every contributor with enough cycles a free ticket ;).
    • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:24AM (#17980226) Homepage

      Y'know, I imagine stuff like this would be nice to speed up the rendering farms in movie studios. Either make 'm pay for the access or give every contributor with enough cycles a free ticket ;).

      This only works in a LAN. Every single frame of a modern movie requires gigabytes of texture data etc. etc... It's not something you can send over the Internet.
      • Y'know, I imagine stuff like this would be nice to speed up the rendering farms in movie studios. Either make 'm pay for the access or give every contributor with enough cycles a free ticket ;).

        This only works in a LAN. Every single frame of a modern movie requires gigabytes of texture data etc. etc... It's not something you can send over the Internet.

        Not to mention I'm sure they'd be thrilled to have basically the entire movie contents floating around the Internet on random people's computers.

        • by Yoozer (1055188)
          Solve the texture problem with a good centralized library of textures - or use procedural ones [wikipedia.org] - not that uncommon. Just imagine that a node will only render a small square of the scene (or even spend its time calculating the light sources from a single render pass which are then put in the pipeline) and nobody's getting the entire movie.

          Of course, there's the problem if you manage not only to catch every single piece, decrypt the bitmaps, -and- manage to put 'm in the right order. However, the amount of
        • ...or someone who cracks the code and figures how to splice in a random frame, a la Tyler Durden in Fight Club.
      • But I was told the Internet 2.0 is the new LAN. Damn that Marketeer!
      • Actually, people can, and do, send render jobs over the internet all the time, and there are companies that make money off of renting out render farms (such as RenderCore, Inc. [rendercore.com]). As a freelance animator in Japan, I am actually considering using such a service in the near future, and have heard good things from other people about the service. The data only has to be sent once, and if it's cached remotely, the payoff is well worth it. After all, gigabytes of data might get sent one time, but subsequent tra
        • by tolldog (1571)
          Not the same.

          That service has data locality to their farm. Rendering over generic nodes on the internet won't give you that locality of data. Or you will have hundreds of clients streaming 20 GB of data to their machine to do 4 hours worth of work. It just isn't worth it.

  • Terminology (Score:4, Funny)

    by John Nowak (872479) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:17AM (#17980186)
    How about we call each node in the OpenMacGrid a MacGriddle?
    • ...Bad for future foodility bills :(

      From my general vegan perspective: could instead call each node an apple. Get it? apples on tree branch grid. Dynamic with key word Macgrid.

  • by pickyouupatnine (901260) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:18AM (#17980188) Homepage
    Who'll the judge? The community?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by creimer (824291)
      It's just commonsense. Modeling for global warming is OK. Modeling for taking over the world is NOT OK.
      • by Funkcikle (630170) * on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:36AM (#17980564)
        From my experience of the online Apple-using community, this entire thing will be used purely to predict when Apple will be releasing new shiny things to buy. Forget about global warming - good God, man! There could be a minor iPod update next Tuesday!
      • by Khabok (940349)
        if (motive != "TAKE OVER THE WORLD"){
        giantShinyBeowulfCluster.task = motive;
        giantShinyBeowulfCluster.mainScreen.turnOn (1);
        }

        else{
        giantShinyBeowulfCluster.dDos (sender);
        }
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      1. Accept all but the most blatent crap.
      2. Present every client with a short one-liner describing the new project.
      3. Let the user of the client decide whether to donate CPU on a project-by-project basis.

      What I don't get is why this is Mac-only. Are Windows/Linux truely less able to perform these tasks or is it just a Mac promotional campaing under the guise of "research"? Seems illogical to me to keep out 95%+ of available CPU time if all you intend is to provide the research community with CPU time.
      • by geekboybt (866398)
        Most likely because it relies on Xgrid [wikipedia.org], methinks.
      • by Angostura (703910)
        It's Mac only, I guess quite simply that it uses the Xgrid software that is bundled in as standard with OS X. Details here [apple.com]. I seem to recall that there was a Java version of the Xgrid agent that ran on Windows, but I can't find it at the moment.
      • by metalcup (897029) <metalcup.gmail@com> on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:08AM (#17980978)

        What I don't get is why this is Mac-only. Are Windows/Linux truely less able to perform these tasks or is it just a Mac promotional campaing under the guise of "research"?
        Because, X-grid is available only for Macs http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/features/xgrid. html [apple.com], and all you need to do to set it up (i.e. allow your mac to be a part of the grid) is click on a few options in the system preferences panel - the end user does not need to work with scheduling and other details - the OS takes care of all that with a few options. It really is damn convinient to use for many types of clustering applications. (and I have setup Linux clusters etc). To that end, yeah, it is a bit of a promotional campaign, but only because no other OS can do it out of the box the way Mac can!!
  • Trojans? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:21AM (#17980210) Homepage
    From the disclaimer:
    http://www.macresearch.org/contribute_to_openmacgr id [macresearch.org]

    By contributing an agent to OpenMacGrid you recognize that third parties will be running software applications on your system. MacResearch.org, will make every attempt to ensure that third party applications are safe for execution on contributed systems (agents), but in no way will MacResearch.org or its affiliates be held liable for any damage to your system resulting from participation in OpenMacGrid. It is the responsibility of the person contributing the agent to ensure that they have permission to use the system in such a fashion.


    So, Xgrid-experts, what kind of permissions does an application like this have? Is it sandboxed somehow?
    • Re:Trojans? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dr.badass (25287) on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:17AM (#17980488) Homepage
      So, Xgrid-experts, what kind of permissions does an application like this have? Is it sandboxed somehow?

      Xgrid jobs run as user 'nobody', which is decently safe, with process limits so it can't forkbomb you to death. A rogue job could fill up /tmp or ~/Public/Drop Box or whatever with garbage until you run out of disk, or some other annoying things. I won't say "nothing major", because that depends on what you've got that's readable or writable by others. I'm also not wearing my expert hat, so it's entirely possible that I'm unaware of some way that Xgrid jobs could 0wnz0r you.

      You still need to trust OpenMacGrid to keep these bad jobs off the grid.
      • You still need to trust OpenMacGrid to keep these bad jobs off the grid.

        Sounds like an ideal candidate for chrooting

        • by fatphil (181876)
          Indeed, but you'd also need to enable hard disk quotas to stop the filling of the hard disk.
          • by ATMD (986401)
            Do Macs support loopback devices?

            Just make a file of whatever size you want to limit the jobs to, format it HFS+, mount it and chroot to it. Problem solved?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Jimithing DMB (29796)

              Do Macs support loopback devices?

              Do they ever. The disk image mounting in OS X makes Linux's loopback devices look like crap. While you can make an image containing only a filesystem you can also make one containing a full disk image (including MBR and everything). When mounted it will for example show up as /dev/disk2 (whole disk), /dev/disk2s1 (first partition), /dev/disk2s2 (second partition) and so on. Makes disk recovery of an imaged disk a shitload easier because you don't have to go through the laborious task of calculating of

      • botnet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pikine (771084)
        "nobody" user can still listen for and establish connections over network, so an OpenMacGrid node can participate in DDoS attack and spam delivery.

        Grid computing is essentially botnet, trying to use that concept for good scientific purpose.
    • I've always thought that the Java sandbox is well-enough understood and fast enough to be a natural for this sort of thing, since it's properties are fairly well tested and understood. And 'HotSpot' JVMs can give very good performance too.

      For example, I just put up this Java Web Start http://master.gallery.hd.org/_AI/remote.jsp [hd.org] project to enable people to help along my little AI project. It is entirely in the sandbox, and is careful with bandwidth and memory and CPU usage. But you don't have to trust m

    • I'm thinking they're paranoid about system damage from overheating.
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by John Nowak (872479) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:23AM (#17980216)
    I do hope their website isn't representative of their grid's performance...
    • by BWJones (18351) *
      Naw, it's not the Macs, but the database that is limiting the connections and likely their bandwidth restrictions. I have a fair amount of experience getting Slashdotted on another website [utah.edu] hosted exclusively on a Mac and I've yet to see it have a problem, even though it is a graphics intensive site.

  • imagine.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by dino303 (876573) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:24AM (#17980224)
    with a beowulf cluster of these... they might even handle the rush from slashdot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MattPat (852615)

      with a beowulf cluster of these... they might even handle the rush from slashdot.

      Well then, it's quite clear that they don't have one: Warning: mysql_connect(): Too many connections. :)

      They'd better not use the same MySQL database for storing grid results... I can picture the headlines now: "Cure for Cancer Lost Because of Traffic from Geek Website."

  • Curious indeed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by agent dero (680753) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:31AM (#17980276) Homepage
    I went ahead and signed up (what can I say, I'm a sucker for science) but I'm really hoping they make it clear what will be running on the agents.

    One thing quite curious, the "introduction" images are almost direct yanks from xgrid@stanfard [stanford.edu] including the Dashboard widget the push as their own from the xgrid widget SDK [mekentosj.com] linked with the xgrid@stanford project as well.

    Should be interesting how this shapes up. 91 total agents right now, 0 working :-P
    • by rockrat (104803)
      Well, Charles Parnot who is the creator and manager of xgrid@stanford (and a major contributer to the Apple Xgrid community) is also a major player in this project. So, it's not really that curious.
  • by quigonn (80360)
    Hot grids down your pants!
  • Usefulness? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wlan0 (871397)
    How useful can it be to be locked into one OS? How hard is it to make a commandline program and then a Cocoa interface, that way you can get everyone and still have a pretty window and widget for OS X users.
    • Re:Usefulness? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dr.badass (25287) on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:58AM (#17980658) Homepage
      How useful can it be to be locked into one OS? How hard is it to make a commandline program and then a Cocoa interface, that way you can get everyone and still have a pretty window and widget for OS X users.

      OpenMacGrid uses Xgrid, which is Mac-only. It isn't something new they've made: it's built-in to Mac OS X. You ask "how hard is it...", and the answer is "A lot harder than just using what's already available."

      Also, the Xgrid agent doesn't have a pretty window. It's a background daemon.
      • by fatphil (181876)
        In your excitement you seem to have forgotten that the command line was already available too.

        I organise cross-platform distributed computing projects, and without exception the actual number-crunching code is an console application, plain C - not even any #ifs, and the only thing that is platform specific is a tiny wrapper script. The wrapper script I use is a Perl one that sits silently in a text console, or hung up, or started from init or cron. There's nothing to stop someone writing a GUI one in Tcl/Tk
        • by peragrin (659227)
          what do you think open grid is? it is just a gui wrapper around Xgrid.

          And Xgrid only works on macs. sine it is just a daemon for the client there isn't any reason why it couldn't be ported to any other *nix, but that is up to apple to do. A simple google search would show you that someone has already duplicated xgrid's functionality with the help of apple. Tying at least Linux boxes into the client network. It looks like it hasn't taken off, but then again neither has xgrid. maybe this project will he
          • It's been done: http://www.novajo.ca/xgridagent/ [novajo.ca]. The problem is that Xgrid ships a binary to the target system to the client system to execute. When I played around with it I was able to get the agent to run on Gentoo x86, but naturally the job built for Mac OS X on PowerPC wouldn't run. There are potential ways around it; using an interpreted language like Python or Java might work (but be detrimental to performance) or using a wrapper script, but that's not something I had much success with.
          • by fatphil (181876)
            Did you miss the bit where I mentioned that it's wrappers around platform-independent portable things are useful. Wrappers around entirely non-portable things are next to useless.

            But probably very pretty. Enjoy your eye-candy.
          • by dr.badass (25287)
            what do you think open grid is? it is just a gui wrapper around Xgrid.

            Um, no it isn't. OpenMacGrid is just an Xgrid controller. There is no GUI. You enter the address into the built-in Mac OS X Sharing Preferences pane, check a box, and you're done.

            it hasn't taken off, but then again neither has xgrid

            I'm not sure what your criteria are for "taking off", but Xgrid has been pretty successful. I think it doesn't get much press because the majority of grids are not public.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dr.badass (25287)
          without exception the actual number-crunching code is an console application, plain C - not even any #ifs, and the only thing that is platform specific is a tiny wrapper script.

          Without exception? Are you sure nobody ever does any vectorization outside of what the compiler does? Ever? Nobody ever links to platform-specific frameworks for any reason? Ever? Nobody ever writes code to run on a homogenous cluster? Ever?

          Being tied to XGrid is an truly abysmal design in comparison.

          In your case perhaps it wo
          • by fatphil (181876)
            Don't be a plonker.

            What I wrote was
            """
            I organise cross-platform distributed computing projects, and without exception the actual number-crunching code is an console application, plain C
            """

            And you intepret that as something like
            "all distributed projects without exception ..."

            Please leave the 'reply' button alone until you learn to read.
            • by dr.badass (25287)
              What I wrote was...

              If you weren't trying to generalize about distributed projects, then what the hell was your point?
              • by fatphil (181876)
                My point was that if you write portable code you can run it on many platforms without modification, and that this is a far superiour way of doing things than restricting yourself to one single minority platform.

                Which should be obvious to anyone with a brain.
                • by dr.badass (25287)
                  My point was that if you write portable code you can run it on many platforms without modification

                  Wow, that's a whopper. No wonder I missed it. Portable code is portable. Dang. You should get an award.

                  and that this is a far superiour way of doing things than restricting yourself to one single minority platform.

                  It is not superior in all cases. In fact, it is quite inferior for the target audience who (as I have already stated) may be part of an all-Mac lab already, may be using the Accelerate framework,
                  • by fatphil (181876)
                    You're one for whoppers yourself it seems - if you're prepared to restrict your target audience then it doesn't matter if you restrict your target audience.

                    Note, however, that I didn't need you to point that out twice, unlike my self-evident truth which you needed to have explained to you.

                    If you worked things out first time, you'd optimise your brain use by 50%!

                    • by dr.badass (25287)
                      Your first comment in reply to mine contained the assertion that depending on Xgrid was an "abysmal design in comparison" to the "far superiour way" of limiting yourself to portable C. I have twice given you reasons why this is not always the case, and all you have done is repeat how "obvious" and "self-evident" your assertion is instead of making any attempt to address those reasons. Just let it go if that's all you're going to do.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How useful can it be to be locked into one OS?

      Even worse than that, it is tied to 10.4. Anyone who hasn't upgraded can't participate. Last time I played with Xgrid, it transmitted the application along with the unit of work. Sure, it makes it easy to just build a universal binary and load it onto the controller, but why not have multiple builds on the controller and have the agent indicate the OS level when it requests work? The controller could then send the appropriate build down.

  • /. effect good? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ljaguar (245365) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:51AM (#17980362) Homepage Journal
    I just configured my ibook following the simple instructions here [macresearch.org].

    Dead simple. The process is still running at 0.0% so i guess i haven't been assigned anything yet.

    First time that /. effect is beneficial to those involved!
    • First time that /. effect is beneficial to those involved!

      People kill for the kind of exposure Slashdot brings. That's why we get Astroturfed [wikipedia.org] occasionally.
  • Re-Enactment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DrRevotron (994894) *
    Re-enactment of the creation of the OpenMacGrid...

    Person 1: "Hey, I've got an idea!"
    Person 2: "Yeah?"
    Person 1: "Yeah! Let's make a compute grid... except, it won't be like those other compute grids. Except, it kinda will. But it won't. But that's not the point. People will be able to submit their own projects!"
    Person 2: "Oh, you mean like BOINC, GPU, The World Community Grid, distributed.net, Leiden, Grid.org, OurGrid..."
    Person 1: "Well, uh... yeah... I guess... except, um... let's run it on a Mac!"
    Pe
    • by gardyloo (512791)
      Thought: Maybe, instead of everybody making their own little grid system... we could all make things go ALOT faster by devoting our processors to more than simulating chess games (Yes, I'm talking to you, Chess960) and focus it where it really counts, like finding a cure to debilitating diseases or searching for intelligent life. (Not a whole lot of it on Earth.)

          Papa Bear would say you hate freedom. Do you hate freedom, Doctor?
    • Re:Re-Enactment (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dr.badass (25287) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:55AM (#17980912) Homepage
      Maybe, instead of everybody making their own little grid system...

      I don't think you fully understand what you're talking about.

      For starters, BOINC is not a separate grid. It's a framework and client for many grids. BOINC users can (and do) contribute to many different projects [berkeley.edu] including your "established projects" like Folding@Home and SETI@Home, and including many of the other grids you've listed. Many of the others you listed do exactly the kind of jobs you're calling for, like disease research.

      Also, you seem to think that all grid computing projects are interchangeable, and that just isn't so. They may work with different data, or using different methods; they may not have the same requirements for job submission; they may operate on vastly different scales. Basically, they're suited for different research needs. A nice thing about OpenMacGrid, for example, is that researchers can take the same Xgrid job they've been using on their tiny network and send it to a public grid without much, if any modification.
      • Though Folding put out a Folding@BOINC beta, I think the project is dead now. As such your assertion that Folding runs on BOINC is incorrect. Folding runs on its own client and network, just as the SETI Classic client did.
        • Though Folding put out a Folding@BOINC beta, I think the project is dead now. As such your assertion that Folding runs on BOINC is incorrect. Folding runs on its own client and network, just as the SETI Classic client did.

          That's true - and the reason I'm not donating any cycles to Folding, though I otherwise would if they were on BOINC. I like that the BOINC projects get that I don't want to sysadmin more than one distributed computing client.
    • focus it where it really counts, like finding a cure to debilitating diseases or searching for intelligent life.

      I agree with your sentiments, but folding@home is a solid investment, seti is like buying tickets to a million-ball lottery.

      • I agree with your sentiments, but folding@home is a solid investment, seti is like buying tickets to a million-ball lottery.

        Spoken like a good engineer. Folding@Home has the potential to change how life is lived on Earth - a very good investment. SETI@Home has the potential to change what we think life is - a philosopher's game.

        I wish Folding would get back to their BOINC client so I can easily donate some cycles to their project.
    • by dead_one (60558)
      Except there are probably plenty of scientists out there with far less ambitious projects which would none-the-less benefit from a few days worth of spare cycles provided accessing them was less hassle than just running the project locally. I've just started a number theory phd, and sometimes find myself staring at processes that'll take three days to finish on my machine. Not worth setting up a global distributed computing project for, but if there's one just sitting around that I can easily offload it to,
      • What with the whole 'submit a proposal' process to go through first, I doubt this would work for your three day projects. Also, IFAIK, OS X does have local exploits, which means that you still need to trust the software being run by the XGrid on your system.

        If the proposal review doesn't insist on reviewing and archiving source code first, this could be the start of a nasty bot-net. Am I right?
    • Person 1: "Well, uh... yeah... I guess... except, um... let's run it on a Mac!"
      Xgrid only runs on Macs. It is, as I understand it, fairly easy to design for and set up. There is a reason they did this. I've run BOINC. It supports some good projects. But at the time I tried it, it was kind of a pain to manage, update, etc. Something like this based on a built-in component of the OS should be pretty simple. That's the idea.
  • "...and access is unrestricted."

    Well, kind of. Except for the fact that you need a proprietary OS to access it. And proprietary hardware to go with it. It seems if you do not have the correct hardware and try to run this, Apple will sue the shit out of you [informationweek.com]. Why don't they make this compatable with all versions of FreeBSD, then call it unrestricted?
    • Because they're running Xgrid, probably in the hopes of using unused cycles on Xeon-based PowerMacs.
    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:39AM (#17980832)
      Isn't that like expecting that a public airstrip claiming "unrestricted access" be accessible to submarines, too?

      Practical limitations may apply without something violating a notion of "unrestricted." Sort of like how unrestricted Internet access in your home still requires you to have a computer or other suitable device; you can't just plug the Internet into your arm.
      • by Shashvat (676991)

        you can't just plug the Internet into your arm
        Now there's a good research subject to throw CPU cycles at.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        you can't just plug the Internet into your arm.
        I beg to differ.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        you can't just plug the Internet into your arm.

        Oooooh :((

        Pitty, that would really put an interesting spin on the "donating cycles" phrase.
      • No... (Score:1, Insightful)

        by denzacar (181829)
        It is more like expecting McDonald's saying they will give 50c from each purchase to a fund to end the world hunger, but ONLY if you order your BigMacs wearing at least 1500$ worth of Armani clothing and apparel.

        And an iPod.
        • No it's not. You've got your analogy backwards. McDonald's serves multiple groups of people and you've singled out a subset, whereas the situation at hand serves only a subset.

          This situation is exactly like going to Wendy's and collecting 50c from each purchase, but letting McDonald's, Burger King, and Carl's Jr. sit it out.
    • by Lars T. (470328)

      "...and access is unrestricted."

      Well, kind of. Except for the fact that you need a proprietary OS to access it. And proprietary hardware to go with it. It seems if you do not have the correct hardware and try to run this, Apple will sue the shit out of you [informationweek.com] . Why don't they make this compatable with all versions of FreeBSD, then call it unrestricted?

      But it would also require somebody to be able to read for comprehension. Since you didn't understand that article, that rules you out anyway.

  • Missing the point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anthonares (466582) <kendal30@@@yahoo...com> on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:56AM (#17981192) Homepage
    The comments so far have (mostly) overlooked the main point of just why the OpenMacGrid is different: it's *open*. That means that scientists, even PhD students like myself that want to run jobs using far greater numbers of nodes than the clusters (beowolf or otherwise) at our home institutions will now have a means to do so. Most such projects have neither the resources nor the capabilities to create their own custom cross-platform clients like those mentioned from other distributed computing projects.

    OpenMacGrid (or just OMG, I guess) uses XGrid, which is built-in to every OSX 10.4 distribution and acts just like any other job queue manager, except it's even easier. So, the whole process of writing a distributed computing project becomes far simpler as well.

    Finally, the OMG it doesn't matter if the OMG is cross-platform running on proprietary hardware: so is every other cluster that I as a scientist have ever had access to. The SGI cluster is proprietary, and to an extent so is the Linux machine at our High-Performance Computing lab on campus. And, if you're thinking about it being non-cross-platform from the client side, well, you're probably not thinking differently anyway, so just go download Folding@Home.
    • by rogtioko (1024857)
      I think dr.badass said why OpenMacGrid is innovative. namely that it uses Xgrid whereas for other distributed computing projects a user would have to adapt code to a certain format.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bcg (322392)
      I totally agree with you.

      I see the difficulty of starting a distributed computing project as being a serious problem.

      One solution I am proposing is borrowing some of the techniques from BitTorrent and using them in distributed computing. So far, the results have been very encouraging.

      So here is a tidbit of my PhD research (an abstract from a paper hopefully being published soon):

      "This paper describes the operational characteristics of "CompTorrent", a general purpose distributed computing platform that prov
      • bcg,
        This looks really interesting, and using BitTorrent in tandem with a distributed computing queue scheduler (like XGrid, in the case of OMG) could provide not only the ability to effectively distribute coarse-grained tasks, but also efficiently share large input datasets for each process.

        Thanks!
  • by v1 (525388) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:09AM (#17981268) Homepage Journal
    Instead of blindly contributing my cycles to whatever project some group of people in california (or wherever) decide is the project of the day, I would like it if I was given the option as a node to pick which project(s) my cycles were used for. People feel better about helping others and contributing/donating when they have a better knowledge of what exactly they are helping. I would be more likely to donate my cycles if I was able to pick which project I was most interested in loaning my hardware to.

    It would also be to their benefit to introduce some competition. Contests like RC64 encouraged teamwork, and there were daily ranking boards where you could go see whose teams were knocking out the most units that day. There is no better motivator to encourage donation of resources than competition and bragging rights. Many of those teams were group oriented, there were things like TeamUnix, TeamMacinotosh, TeamUCLA, etc, and again that gives the nodes in each team a feeling of belonging to a group of people they can relate to, even if they have little in common.
    • I would be more likely to donate my cycles if I was able to pick which project I was most interested in loaning my hardware to.

      You're looking for BOINC [berkeley.edu].
  • With all the stories I've heard of the cooling fans on the MacBook's going wonky if run at too high of a speed for too long, I'm reluctant to offer my spare cycles to Xgrid.

    The last thing I want to happen as a result of being a participant is seeing my fan spooled up to 6000+ RPM day in and day out while my Mac crunches numbers, only to result in the fan itself crapping out a few months later.
    • by King_TJ (85913)
      IMHO, it's silly to contribute a portable computer's CPU cycles to these types of projects anyway. They usually run when your machine is *idle*. Portables are usually shut off or put into a sleep mode and disconnected from the Internet when they're not actually being used.

      However, I will very likely set up my Mac Pro for this project when I get home tonight. It runs 24 hours/7 days since I have a small ftp server on it. It may as well be doing something else useful for other people while it's using the
  • Big Pharm, for example, could sneak in research that is truly useful, but then gets pumped into its proprietary medicinal development? That takes it out of the realm of Open Source research, doesn't it?
    • by drc1 (791967)
      Big Pharma have more than enough internal resources to do this sort of stuff, added to which I'd be very suprised if they wanted details of what would be a very early stage project potentially leaking into the public domain.
  • " ... and any scientist with a reasonable project can burn cycles."

    Define "reasonable".
  • After being hit by slashdot the site appears to be up and running fine now.
  • Signed up, and checked in tonight. What the hell is it running?

    nobody 5606 100.0 -3.4 103580 70916 ?? RN 8:00PM 130:53.62 setiathome_5.13_powerpc-apple-darwin
    nobody 5598 0.0 -0.3 28208 5508 ?? SNs 7:57PM 0:02.37 /var/xgrid/agent/tasks/4nOFfwTN/executables/boinc -no_gui_rpc -attach_project http://setiathome/ [setiathome]

    For a serious grid, sure I'd donate. But for what sure seems like an attempt to inflate some jack-off's seti at home score? Don't think so.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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