Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Current best method to donate processor power?

By AnalogBoy in Technology
Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:00:13 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

RC5, 3DES, SETI@Home, UD Cancer, UD Anthrax, www.folderol.org.. What is k5's opinion on the best way to donate unused processor power? On Wintel? On Linux, or especially on Sun and SGI machines that have no other purpose.

Personally, I run the UD Cancer/Anthrax "Think" Program on my PC, but i'm tempted to move to folderol. Unfortunately there isn't a UNIX client for either of these yet (That I can find.) A shame too, since I have considerable SPARC computing power lying around right now. And instead of doing something... "transitive" such as breaking some more-or-less meaningless (think grand-scheme-of-things) encryption, i'd rather contribute to the fight against cancer, or the expansion of the human genome information.

So, what do you guys run on your workstations? And what is a good way to use spare processor cycles on UNIX machines?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Most worthwhile Distributed Client?
o UD Cancer ("Think") 31%
o UD Anthrax ("Think", too..) 2%
o Folderol 2%
o Encryption 12%
o Other, Which i will mention below 8%
o Other, which i will not mention below 20%
o There is no point to Distributed Computing 12%
o Too many to choose from! 10%

Votes: 48
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o fight against cancer
o expansion of the human genome information
o Also by AnalogBoy

Display: Sort:
Current best method to donate processor power? | 38 comments (34 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
distributed RC5-64 (3.50 / 4) (#1)
by rleyton on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:08:43 AM EST

It's RC5-64 for me ...on my home machine, my laptop, and on a couple of company file servers ;-)...

So what about a kuro5hin group? I'm currently donating my credits to The Other Site's group. Couldn't find a kuro5hin one...




Ooooooooooooooh! What does this button do!? - DeeDee, Dexters Lab.
My Website

SETI@Home and UD Cancer (4.00 / 7) (#2)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:13:12 AM EST


Anything related to the late Carl Sagan deserves to be supported.

The cancer information obtained will be publicly available.

I could not bring myself to run the anthrax thing. AIDS or Parkinson's desease are far more widespread and are hurting far more people than anthrax. But we all know why that one was started.

I don't really care about encrypton breaking, it is an interesting thing to do but those computer cycles are better donated elsewhere.
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Definately.. (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by AnalogBoy on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:20:01 AM EST

I dont like UD now that they've moved to Anthrax - I agree, Cancer, AIDS, Parkinsons, ALS, Diabetes, etc, etc, etc.. There are so much better uses [IMHO] than searching for aliens (Then again, said aliens could give us the cure for cancer!) and cracking an encryption scheme which will be obsolete in x years, anyway.
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
Aliens... (2.00 / 1) (#7)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:28:31 AM EST

...I know you are right. It is just that Sagan is one of my heroes.

"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
They changed their policy (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by darkbrown on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:32:14 AM EST

To be eligible for the Make-A-Wish donation scheme you no longer have to run that stupid anthrax project, according to an announcement here

[ Parent ]
Solving the genome problem (3.25 / 4) (#3)
by Jel on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:18:39 AM EST

.. wouldn't it lead to a cure for cancer eventually, along with buckets of other stuff?
...lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon
- Jewel, Life Uncommon
I like that one.. (none / 0) (#6)
by AnalogBoy on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:23:40 AM EST

I do like that POV.. plus, eventually, there will be a Linux client for it (which hopefully will work on other platforms.. I Have a J50, an Origin 200, An Ultra 30, and a few Ultra 5's which ain't doin nuthin.)
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
Got cow? (3.50 / 6) (#5)
by inerte on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:22:44 AM EST


And it writes funny phrases on the screen from time to time.

Run Windows (3.50 / 10) (#10)
by jabber on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:43:29 AM EST

Time is money and money is power.. To donate processor power to Microsoft, simply spend more money on a faster processor than you need, and cripple it by running Windows..

And before anyone thinks that this is completely off topic.. What's to stop MS from harnessing distributed CPU power via 'upgrades' to XP? Huh? How would you even know that "System Idle Process, PID 0" isn't REALLY a processor leech in XP?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

even worse.. (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by rebelcool on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:31:41 PM EST

how do you know its not really alien burritos from pluto stealing them? Quick! Put on your shiny hats!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

UD's Anthrax program for now (2.16 / 6) (#11)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:59:31 AM EST

I'm also running UD's client, which is currently working on the Anthrax toxin. In terms of benefit to humanity, these kinds of projects are tops. While it's also noble to search for an encryption key or for ET life, I think protein folding and other kinds of drug research are more applicable immediately.

It'll be interesting when the 'pay-for-CPU-cycles' programs get off the ground. We'll see how many people continue to donate their cycles to a cause, or whore them out to UltraMegaGlobaCorp(tm)..

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

Climateprediction.com (4.25 / 4) (#13)
by DoubleEdd on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 02:09:42 PM EST

A good future choice might be climateprediction.com which will try to find a good model for determining the future evolution of the world's climate. From the FAQ on the page it looks like they'll have a Windows and a Linux version, and it'll help compensate for all the extra greenhouse emissions that result from running a machine 24/7! (That last comment in jest. See their FAQ)

This really could be a useful project in the grand scheme of things. Someone in the future won't necessarily be able to say that their life was saved by something coming out of this project, but this sort of climatology really does affect us all.

On the downside it seems they want at least 128Mb of RAM and 500Mb of HD space!

Psychohistory? (2.20 / 5) (#14)
by medham on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 03:38:35 PM EST

Are there any psychohistory DC projects? D.C. DC ones?

If not, let us begin.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Folding@Home (4.40 / 5) (#17)
by mlinksva on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 05:00:59 PM EST

That's what I run anyway. Better understanding of protein folding may help us understand certain diseases as well as a potential nanotech development pathway. F@H {W|L}intel clients here.
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
Just looked at F@H (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by bunsen on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:42:16 PM EST

Looks interesting. They're doing real research, not trendy-but-nearly-useless anthrax junk. I think I'll start that up just as soon as I find one particular RC5-64 key. (Oh fine, I'll even go to F@H if somebody else finds the RC5 key.) After finally creeping out of the 60,000s in the RC5 rankings and checking better than 8.3e+04 blocks, I just can't bear to quit until it's finished. Besides, I'm getting paid an average of $2000*(1/112000)=$0.017 for my trouble!

Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)
[ Parent ]
F@H (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by strlen on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 04:25:28 PM EST

F@H is truly a great idea, from my opinion as well, since you indeed are putting full advantage of distributed computing for a plausible goal. I always leave a client running on my fastest work station.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Recommended (none / 0) (#38)
by jsoderba on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 07:19:56 PM EST

I've been running F@H under the Ars Technica banner for a year now and there been some interresting results. There has been some problems with the clients — Pandegroup is perhaps better at biochemistry than programming — but most serious problems are fixed by now. Vijay and the rest of the guys are very approchable and often post on the messageboard (on that godforsaken Yahoo Groups system, unfortunately.)

I'd recommend that everyone take a look. It's a worthwhile cause, and it gives tangible results.

[ Parent ]
Projects (4.16 / 6) (#18)
by p0ppe on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:05:31 PM EST

What about fighting AIDS? - http://www.fightaidsathome.org/
Or perhaps you want data about your website/server, such as performance and downtime? - http://cycletraders.com/

A list of projects can be found in the open directory: http://dmoz.org/Computers/Computer_Science/Distributed_Computing/Projects/

"Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
Seti (3.50 / 4) (#19)
by sticky on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:33:40 PM EST

I've considered running other distributed computing programs alongside it but I don't want to slow it down. Being in the 98th percentile of completed workunits makes me keep wanting to climb higher. Considering that the great majority of these units are just from my home box (which is now the only one running it) I'm pretty pleased with my accomplishments. Since I've come this far, I just couldn't bear the thought of giving up on the competition. Cracking the top 1% would be sweet, as well as making my country list (Canada).

Oh yeah, finding aliens would be cool too.

Don't eat the shrimp.---God
1735 units here! (none / 0) (#21)
by rebelcool on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:30:26 PM EST

this athlon 1800xp cranks 'em out ever 5 hours :) Pity about their bandwidth problems.. though the past couple of days have been better.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Open source client? (3.50 / 4) (#20)
by freakazoid on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:13:19 PM EST

Does anyone know of a project with an open source client? I understand the difficulties associated with distributed computing on untrusted machines using an open source client, but even closed source clients can be spoofed, and it is definitely possible to do secure computing in an untrusted environment. I won't be donating my CPU cycles until I find a way to do so that is entirely open source.

Seti@home (2.75 / 4) (#24)
by spreerpg on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:50:41 PM EST

I like looking for aliens, 'cause I think space is where our future is. Hey, maybe I'll find out where my little sister came from. Who knows?

You can kill me, but you can't eat me!
Find Mersenne Primes (4.60 / 5) (#25)
by skim123 on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 08:56:48 PM EST

I look for Mersenne Primes on one of my computers, and do the RC5 distributed.net stuff on the others. Which is perhaps one of the oldest problems you can attempt to solve - folks have been working on finding Mersenne Primes since 300 BC.

For those that don't know, Mersenne Primes are prime numbers that are in the form 2n-1. So far there mathematicians have found a total of 39 such primes.

Also, to address an earlier poster's question, the source for the Mersenne Primes distributed program is freely available.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

don't forget (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by supruzr on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 03:23:05 PM EST

In addition, the 'n' variable in the equation must also be a prime number. And if your computer is the one to actually find the next Mersenne, you get cash. That's a big plus. I'm all for any distributed network that includes a payoff.

[ Parent ]
Interestingly (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by skim123 on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 10:19:41 PM EST

I just found out tonight that a fellow whom I'm going to grad school with works for Entropia, which is the company doing the GIMPs (Mersenne Prime) and FindACureForAIDS thing. The cofounder of Entropia was the one who started GIMPs a few years back. Small freakin' world.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Well, for my part. (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by valeko on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 09:36:18 PM EST

I would contribute my CPU cycles to various cancer projects, especially the ones I perceive as being more legitimate and to which more progress can be attributed. You should always be careful when a site tells you to download their client and run something that "decodes proteins" or whatnot; find out what institute is doing this, request more information.

However, last time I checked, all the cancer-related distributed projects only have Windows clients. I've lost track of them since and am unable to verify this without extensive search. If anyone could please tell me whether UNIX clients have since come out for any of them, I would be delighted to participate in this noble cause.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

THINK on *nix (none / 0) (#30)
by rgoshko on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 02:49:56 PM EST

I have run RCS-64 (dnet), seti@home, and THINK (UD) at various times.

Dnet had I think the most "open" client that ran on a number of platforms. I ran SETI for about a year, and then kind of lost interest. I hve been running THINK for about the last 10 months.

I run THINK cancer on my Linux box via WINE, and it works quite well. Some times there is problems viewing the graphical output, but other than that, it works. I have read on the UD message boards that people have used multiplte WINE emulators to run dual THINK processes on SMP machines.

With the dnet people working at UD, you would think their client breadth would have improved in a year.

[ Parent ]

Team Krystalia (4.00 / 4) (#27)
by pietra on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 10:57:29 PM EST

If you would like to donate cycles to the UD cancer project, may I recommend Team Krystalia, a group put together in honor of a good friend of mine, who is sorely missed by a great many people in #dc-stuff and elsewhere. She died of ovarian cancer two and a half years ago, so the project has special significance to us.

(However, if she was still alive and healthy, she'd probably recommend that you donate your cycles to SETI. So there you go.)

It's a simple equation. (2.66 / 3) (#28)
by tekue on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 08:19:16 AM EST

I'd personally spend my time/money/CPU on things that are really needed. The biggest need is for things that are good (in the widest meaning) and in short supply.

That said, there's not enough of aliens on Earth (as there are officialy none and there is at least one I'd like to see) and there are definetely too many humans here, so I vote up for SETI and down with cancer/anthrax/folding/etc.
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins

"Beowulf-ready Distributed clients (4.00 / 3) (#29)
by mrde50 on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 01:20:10 PM EST

Is there any Linux clients available that are Beowulf ready for systems running Bproc?

Prime Numbers (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by JonesBoy on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 03:33:08 PM EST

I have been donating cycles to the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). http://www.mersenne.org I started this about 8 years ago (IIRC), with a client that had manual communication (e-mailling handwritten results back and fourth). The computer running the numbers didn't have a direct internet connection at the time! It took me about a year to trial factor a number by about 60 bits. Now, I replaced that 486/DX2 66 with a Athalon 1600+ which gets that done in under 2 weeks. I have donated over 22 pentium-90 years of cpu time, putting me in the top 5% of the 20,000 current users. They are currently running at over 1.5 terraflops.

They are looking for primes that follow the equation (2**n)-1. (more info at http://www.utm.edu/research/primes/mersenne/index.html) As a previous poster has mentioned, only 39 of them have been found, most in the recent past. As you could imagine, these numbers get big really quick. Hundreds of thousands of digits big. The best part is, if your computer helps find a 1 million digit prime, you will get a significant portion of a $100,000 USD reward.

The client software is open source, and VERY well written by George Woltman. It is probably one of the most optimized distributed clients out there. They have a mailing list with some rather in-depth discussions about number theory, algorithms, and processors in general. Its an organization that you can actually participate in, rather than just blindly assist. You also get to see the results of your work, unlike some of the distributed clients.

So, if you are looking for a good interactive community to join, with well written software (why waste precious cycles!), and results you can see, join GIMPS!!

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
Proovability (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by karld on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 03:52:37 PM EST

I think the GIMPS effort also is helping to shed light on the tension between theorems that are unprovable and those that just haven't been proven yet. Most people would probably agree that there are an infinite number of mersenne primes, but no one has yet proven it.

And its super cool how, given any mersenne prime, you can easily computer a perfect number (those are really cool). And the method that GIMPS uses (Lucas Lehmer testing) is very interesting.

And, to me, math is more intersting than anything else anyway.

[ Parent ]
Keep your processor cool (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by Agent000 on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 01:59:51 AM EST

Alternatively, let your CPU go idle, use less energy, generate less heat, and prolong it's own life.

I'm not trying to discredit distributed computing, because it's a good thing for many things; I just thought it should be mentioned. Heat is probably the worst thing in terms of reducing the life of electronic components. If I'm not mistaken, most modern processors have mechanisms that allow them to use less power when they are idle, thus generating less heat.

Or maybe I'm just thinking like an overclocker

Heat, processor time, electronics, etc. (none / 0) (#36)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 03:27:03 AM EST

Heat is the no. 1 enemy of electronics. A PC that overheats is a geek's worst nightmare -- overheating can cause permanent damage to expensive hardware.

However, heat is an enemy in a more insidious manner too -- hot/cool cycle damage. There is evidence to suggest that consistent heat is better than repetitive heat/cool cycles for component duration. Therefore, even those chips that powersave when idle don't entirely cool down. Besides, power consumption of the CPU isn't really an issue until you talk battery-powered devices -- cutting CPU power consumption in half on a desktop wouldn't even make a dent when you consider the energy drawn by everything else in the system.

Personally, I'd rather spend the few pennies of energy doing something useful than powering down or off.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Current best method to donate processor power? | 38 comments (34 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!