open-source Notes

Notes of an open-source programmer.
11 Sep

BOINC workshop 2008 day 2

We started with a light breakfast and then the talks began. Here is a short summary of the speeches (work in progress):

For the titles see the schedule of talks.

Kevin Reed (World Community Grid): WCG has done allot since fully switching to the BOINC framework. They’ve done much to the social component of BOINC and provide widgets, badges and even a facebook application.

Marc Garbey (University of Houston): An interesting project involving plants and how they could decrease soil pollution. He basically computes the way prairie plants grow. It’s mainly mathematics and heuristics.

Bruce Allen (MPI): There are some new things in the einstein@home pipeline. A new more sensitive science run, support for GPU’s, a new screensaver that can be designed by everyone and a new application which is searching for radio pulsars.

Alejandro Rivera (University of Zaragoza): He introduced Ibercivis, a multiproject computing grid based on BOINC for Spain. They are trying to distribute the BOINC server infrastructure through Spain in order to provide a higher availability. They also build some AJAX and social gadgets around the BOINC framework. The link is

Jack Shultz (National Academy of Science): He described a project that researches the possibility of procuding Hydrogen from algae. They try to find the right algae to produce lots of Hydrogen and solve the energy problem. It’s still a proposal and a lot of work needs to be done.

Francois Grey (CERN): You all know LHC@home but what you may not know is that the CERN also launched Africa@home and Asia@home. Those projects have the goal to promote distributed computing in those countries. There is also a plan to build a collaboration called Citizen Cyberscience to promote all kinds of distributed things.

Ana Gago Da Silva (CERN): The AfricaMap project has the goal to build maps of Africa using satellite imaginary and users who identify the landscape. This project is build onto BOLT and BOSSA of the BOINC family.

Ben Segal (CERN): The idea of distributing virtual machines like applications from the BOINC server to the clients is very ambiguous. The goal is to simplify application development because you have the same OS on every machine and get the work done by this guest system on the real host. The disadvantage is that you loose some performance and the image has to be downloaded before starting to crunch (appr. 300 MB).

Lunch break (more talks after that) French can’t make pasta.

Matt Blumberg (GridRepublic): A very good add-on to BOINC is the account manager function. GridRepublic is a very good example and provides many social interaction solutions. There is a facebook application and a myspace site that promotes distributed computing.

Andrew Gillette (TFCLS): He presented some ways to improve BOINC and make it marketable to the general public. He also presented the outcome of the latest user survey.

Peter Kacsuk (SZTAKI): A nice idea to build a bridge between public DC projects (BOINC projects in particular) and a service grid called EGEE. This 3G bridge should make it possible to exchange tasks between the two types of grids (desktop and service).

Gabor Gombas (SZTAKI): He proposed another type of bridge between BOINC projects and what has to be changed to make it work. He also talked about increased security in BOINC projects like digital certificates or sandboxing using virtual machines.

Jozsef Kovacs (SZTAKI): Another very good project from SZTAKI. They developed a GenericWrapper that can do the BOINCification of legacy application using a simple self developed script language. They succesfully use this in the CancerGrid.

Derrick Kondo (INRIA): A nice statistical model to calculate the number of hosts needed to solve a defined number of tasks in a defined timespan. This could be implemented in BOINC so it can selfdecide how many results have to be created to run the batch in the shortest amount of time.

Francisco Fernández de Vega (University of Extremadura): Another approach of virtualizing the BOINC application and run software with special requirements on normal machines. They also used VMware as base.

Daniel Lombraña González (University of Extremadura): Daniel talked about another approach to control a pool of computers using the Account Manager Protocol.

Carlos Varela (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute): He presented the MilkyWay@home project and how they optimized their application for desktop grids and supercomputers. At this point his group tried to synchronize the desktop grids so that they work like supercomputers.

Oded Ben-Dov (Technion): An interesting project: BOINC on mobile phones. A java port of the BOINC client for the Android framework called Boincoid. The potential of this java version is great but in my opinion not for mobile devices because of the power consumption.

Jaspal Subhlok (University of Houston): A very difficult topic. As I understood it this should be an new kind of communication between workunits. Maybe it’s my lack of knowledge or because it’s late I don’t know.

That were the talks, now there is a workshop dinner at the Restaurant du Téléphérique.

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