For Classic Users who may need help starting with BOINC

Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts
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Topic 190132

With the announcement that Seti Classic is going to end around the middle of December (really truly :). ) or whenever, there are bound to be Classic users checking out how various BOINC projects are performing. I've just had a quick look over at Classic and there are obviously quite mixed emotions.

I think it would be neighbourly of us to dust off the welcome mat and try to make their transition as painless as possible. When you think about it, it really doesn't matter which BOINC project they get started with as long as we help them get started in the first place. It would be much easier here rather than over at BOINC/Seti because I think the people here are much less likely to belittle or demean newcomers who simply don't yet understand BOINC. Once they get started, they can simply add other projects like Seti and become true BOINC citizens with a culture of multi-project support. It's really the "getting of the first project going properly" that could represent the stumbling block for most newcomers.

I'm going to post a message over at Classic, inviting any interested people to come to this thread if they need support. The emphasis will be on getting the first project going quickly rather than overwhelming them with the complexities of how everything works. I think we shouldn't point beginners to the Wiki because there is just too much overwhelming detail there. Once the first project is running properly, then we can point them to where they can start to read about it.

On the assumption that a lot of people don't like to read and absorb pages and pages of information, I'm going to create a very basic "Do this to get started" list of steps and post it here for comment and review. Please feel free to tear it to pieces. Please also criticise the whole concept if you wish. I'm not really sure what "can of worms" I might be opening :).

Cheers,
Gary.

Stick
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For Classic Users who may need help starting with BOINC

While I think this a great idea and a good opportunity to attract new crunchers to Einstein, I do have a couple of reservations. I wonder "who is left at Seti Classic?" And, how interested are they in taking on the BOINC experience?

Since I still have a box doing Seti Classic (an old Mac that is not BOINC capable) I may be representative of some of the remaining group. Unfortunately, it's the part of the group that can't come over. (We'll just have to shut down.) On the other hand, there is undoubtedly a substantial part of the group that can come over. But then we should ask: Why haven't they made the switch already? I would suggest that at least part of the answer is: They really don't want to be bothered with learning the new technology. Seti Classic is easy and painless and doesn't require much user interaction; and, switching to BOINC requires some work/time.

Therefore, I hope that we don't rush into recruiting these Seti Classic users before we are ready. By that I mean, I hope that Einstein is able to go "official" with a new Windows application (the current Beta app or an improved version) before we start asking the remaining Seti Classic users to join. Otherwise, they will undoubtedly run into the many pitfalls of running Einstein 4.79 with the new BOINC; and, we could wind up with a bunch of new disappointed and frustrated users. In the long run, that would not be good.

Quote:

With the announcement that Seti Classic is going to end around the middle of December (really truly :). ) or whenever, there are bound to be Classic users checking out how various BOINC projects are performing. I've just had a quick look over at Classic and there are obviously quite mixed emotions.

I think it would be neighbourly of us to dust off the welcome mat and try to make their transition as painless as possible. When you think about it, it really doesn't matter which BOINC project they get started with as long as we help them get started in the first place. It would be much easier here rather than over at BOINC/Seti because I think the people here are much less likely to belittle or demean newcomers who simply don't yet understand BOINC. Once they get started, they can simply add other projects like Seti and become true BOINC citizens with a culture of multi-project support. It's really the "getting of the first project going properly" that could represent the stumbling block for most newcomers.

I'm going to post a message over at Classic, inviting any interested people to come to this thread if they need support. The emphasis will be on getting the first project going quickly rather than overwhelming them with the complexities of how everything works. I think we shouldn't point beginners to the Wiki because there is just too much overwhelming detail there. Once the first project is running properly, then we can point them to where they can start to read about it.

On the assumption that a lot of people don't like to read and absorb pages and pages of information, I'm going to create a very basic "Do this to get started" list of steps and post it here for comment and review. Please feel free to tear it to pieces. Please also criticise the whole concept if you wish. I'm not really sure what "can of worms" I might be opening :).


Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts
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Basic Checklist of Steps to

Basic Checklist of Steps to get up and running with a BOINC Powered Project

Preamble

If you are interested in supporting distributed computing science projects, like Einstein at Home, that run under the BOINC framework, but are not really sure how to get started, or if you have previously run "stand-alone" projects like classic Seti and now need to transfer to BOINC in order to continue that association, then maybe these notes might be useful to you. If you are willing to give BOINC a try and are reading here for the first time, you will probably not have already created yourself an account on the EAH website. If you haven't please don't bother as you will be able to do so within the install procedure. If you already have created an account, that is fine also but please have all the details ready so that you can enter them when requested. If you have an account with the older style 25 random character account key, you might like to change it to an easier user settable password of your choice using the "change password" function on your account page on the website. Do this before trying to install. If you have no account, you don't need to worry about these account keys.

Whatever path you take, you will need a valid email address and a password/acct key to use during installation. This is important. If you are unsure, please ask questions in this forum. You will save yourself potential grief if you choose a password that is easy for you to remember. If you already have an account then use the "existing account" option during the install. If you are a new user, and have not previously created an account on the website, you will need to use the "new account" option and think up, enter, and confirm a password of your choice during the install.

To install BOINC in a Windows environment, it would be desirable to have an up-to-date version of 98/Me/2K/XP with at least 128MB RAM and 0.5GB - 1.0GB free disk space, particularly if adding extra projects.

Note about Firewalls

During installation, BOINC will need to initiate communication over both the local network and the internet. You will need to ensure that you have a workable internet connection and that your firewall allows this. If your firewall can pop up a window when permission needs to be granted for new programs to communicate, that is a good way to see and deal with this potential problem. There have been many instances of people complaining about BOINC when it is actually their firewall silently blocking the communication.

Installation Steps

1. Download and save a copy of the appropriate recommended version of BOINC from here.

2. If you are a classic Seti user, please shut down Classic but leave everything intact for the moment. There is no guarantee that classic will end on the stated day so don't burn your bridges unless you really want to.

3. Double click the BOINC installer to start the install procedure. You will see these steps:-

  • * Welcome screen.
    * Accept the License screen.
    * Choose installation folder screen. Default is C:\\Program Files\\BOINC\\
    * Choose the account type - please choose "Single User" at this time
    * Choose options to do with screensaver and launching at startup. For the moment please untick both.
    * Do the installation.
    * Click finish with "Launch Boinc" ticked.

4. When BOINC launches for the first time you will be able to attach to a project by filling in details on the following screens:-

  • * Project URL. Please use

http://einstein.phys.uwm.edu/
* Account information - select new or existing as appropriate - refer to the notes under "Preamble" heading above. Then correctly enter your email address, your password/account key, and confirm your password/account key.
* When you are successfully validated, your browser will open at a page on the EAH website where you can finish the account setup by choosing things like your screen name, country, postal code, etc. Click OK and exit your browser.

While the previous has been going on, BOINC has been working in the background doing a number of tasks like downloading science application and data files and performing benchmarks on your machine. There will be a BOINC Manager window open which you can resize to suit. Please realise that you are fully running on suitable default preferences at this stage. You are successfully crunching for EAH and your BOINC experience has just begun. Congratulations!!

The Manager window will have the following tabs visible, "Projects", "Work", "Transfers", "Messages", "Statistics" and "Disk". Click in turn each of the first four and drag the column heading separators to adjust the column widths to suit the data in each column. By making the Manager window full screen, you should be able to display most columns without truncation. Experiment to find something that suits you.

When displaying each separate tab, there is a vertical menu to the left showing possible options associated with that tab. Many will be greyed out until you select something in the window to work on. Please be careful with these until you know exactly what each one does. Some are potentially harmful - like resetting a project for example.

Now that you are successfully installed and running, it's time to start learning about what you have actually done. Here is "the bible" about anything and everything to do with BOINC. This is the front page. Try typing "BOINC Manager" into the google search box and look at all the "hits". Click the first "hit" and start to learn all about what you are seeing when you look at a BOINC Manager window.

Please realise that the Wiki is a work in progress and it is becoming more and more useful everyday. Obviously some coverage is still patchy but Paul D. Buck and his contributors are developing a wealth of information just for us. Please use it to expand your understanding of what is going on.

You can also get help by asking questions in the "Getting started" and "Problems" message boards. Please try to give as much detail as possible in your question. It's very difficult to help when incomplete information is given.

Cheers,
Gary.

Ageless
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Usefull commands to start,

Usefull commands to start, stop, pause and continue BOINC when you have it installed as a service:

Net pause BOINC = Pauses BOINC as is. It will write the science applications to Virtual Memory and release the ones in memory (RAM).

Net Continue BOINC = Continues BOINC where it was paused.

Net Stop BOINC = Stops BOINC completely. Useful for when you want to free as much as possible memory and virtual memory for something else.

Net Start BOINC = Starts BOINC after you stopped it.

To make Shortcuts of these commands on your Windows desktop, do the following:
Rightclick on the desktop.
Choose New.
Choose Shortcut.
Type cmd /k net start boinc. {Enter}
Type a name for the command line shortcut. {Enter}

And that's it. :)

Kent
Kent
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Hi, I'm on of those Seti

Hi, I'm on of those Seti Classic users that is going to try BOINC and split time between Einstein & Seti. Got it set up OK, but still trying to get used to the differences. I miss the action of the graphic showing that I was making progress...other than the spinning "globe" and the slow change of numbers in the bottom left of the page, it's not real apparent that progress is being made (compared to Classic) but I'm getting used to looking at the percentages on the Work tab and hope to finish easing into it. Thanks for the welcome!

Kent

Warhawk
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As I mentioned in Cruncher's

Message 19192 in response to message 19191

As I mentioned in Cruncher's Corner (thanks for bringing over a familiar name!!) I'm a Classic retread, one of the 'old heads' at Classic; crunching for six and a half years... For my money, the BOINC learning curve wasn't steep at all, in fact, the install took only seconds, attaching to a program only took a few more and all is going fairly well...

I appreciate the willingness to welcome those of us who stayed with our beloved Classic to the bitter end... It's a pleasant change from the SETI BOINC board...

I've got fifteen boxes running BOINC Einstein at the moment and will probably add more...

Concerning the machines that Classic users may not be able to run BOINC on... many Classic crunchers got a big kick out of resurrecting old P90s and what not to add to their farms... Most of these were scrap metal when the ginned them back up and they'll return to that status in the near future... The vast majority of folks that I ran into at Classic had fairly sophisticated machines that they whipped mercilessly to get the most output... The more of these folks you can court the better...

Regards,

Warhawk

It's easier to beg for forgiveness that it is to ask for permission...

-AFFTC

AsparaGus
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Thank you! An old newbie

Thank you!

An old newbie who was active in seti@home, I hated BOINCing when it first came out and when it was forced on me, I simply left. (Well, for a few weeks,) I downloaded and installed BOINC without a problem, but it wasn't getting much work and appeared to be phoning home and never getting an answer.

Though I did some work, it spent most days with downloads or uploads constantly rescheduling themselves. Wandering the wikis and the jammed message boards did little to help. Newbies always figure the problem is something they did or failed to do. So I spent several days tweaking settings and thoroughly confused over the website.

When I attached to Einstein@home it was cooking with gas! No wonder! You guys remember HTML and put out a useful message board. Pleased to be here.

To err is human; to really screw up requires a computer.


Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen
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RE: Thank you! When I

Message 19194 in response to message 19193

Quote:

Thank you!

When I attached to Einstein@home it was cooking with gas! No wonder! You guys remember HTML and put out a useful message board. Pleased to be here.

Thank you!!

We try hard to always keep plenty of work available for everyone.

Bruce

Director, Einstein@Home

Cheburashka
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Bruce, Sorry for the

Message 19195 in response to message 19194

Bruce,

Sorry for the offtopic.

The info about my computer returns that I have 2 CPUs. Is it some kind of a bug? I know for sure that I have single CPU computer. It's Intel 3.0 GHz with a Northwood core. Maybe the "tester" recognizes it as 2 CPUs because my chipset has a dual channel memory support?

Dmitry.

PS Another question. Does your project has a minimum requiremetts to the computer power?

Michael Roycraft
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RE: Bruce, Sorry for the

Message 19196 in response to message 19195

Quote:

Bruce,

Sorry for the offtopic.

The info about my computer returns that I have 2 CPUs. Is it some kind of a bug? I know for sure that I have single CPU computer. It's Intel 3.0 GHz with a Northwood core. Maybe the "tester" recognizes it as 2 CPUs because my chipset has a dual channel memory support?

Dmitry.

PS Another question. Does your project has a minimum requiremetts to the computer power?

Dmitry,

Your CPU is apparently a 3.0 with Hyperthreading, so it has two virtual CPUs, and can run a WU on each of them, simultaneously.

microcraft
"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice" - MLK

Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen
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RE: PS Another question.

Message 19197 in response to message 19195

Quote:

PS Another question. Does your project has a minimum requiremetts to the computer power?

Yes and no.

There are requirements for minimum free disk space and minimum memory to run a job. There is no explicit requirement for CPU, but if the server-side scheduler thinks a machine is too slow to complete work within the two week deadline, it will only send a single workunit to the box. Of course (one) more will be sent if that workunit is completed or times out, and so on, ad infinitum.

Director, Einstein@Home

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