General Preferences - I need some guidelines

Trillian-Hi
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Topic 190002

I'm trying to set my General Preferences fo all BOINC projects, but I don't know what I should choose. And there doesn't seem to be a "default" setting. (Why is BOINC so user-unfriendly? Seti@Home was so easy to set up.)

My PC has only a 13 GB hard drive (4.36 GB free), 256 MB SDRAM (maxed out from 96 MB), and Pentium III 450 MHz.

So how should I set my Disk and Memory Usage?

Thanks for any advice.

J D K
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General Preferences - I need some guidelines

With a 450 mhz box you may want to rethink running E@H or if you do run E@H it will be the only project or you may run into reporting deadline problems......

Use these to start

Processor usage
Do work while computer is running on batteries?
(matters only for portable computers) yes no
Do work while computer is in use? yes
Do work only after computer is idle for
(applies only if above is 'no') minutes
Do work only between the hours of
(no restriction if equal)
Leave applications in memory while preempted?
(suspended applications will consume swap space if 'yes') yes
Switch between applications every
(recommended: 60 minutes) minutes
On multiprocessors, use at most 1 processors
Disk and memory usage
Use no more than 1.5 Gbytes
Leave at least 0.1 Gbytes free
Use no more than 85 % of total disk space
Write to disk at most every 60 seconds
Use no more than 75 % of total virtual memory
Network usage
Connect to network about every .01
(determines size of work cache; maximum 10 days) days

Stick
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RE: With a 450 mhz box you

Message 18150 in response to message 18149

Quote:
With a 450 mhz box you may want to rethink running E@H or if you do run E@H it will be the only project or you may run into reporting deadline problems......

One of my computers is a 500 mhz box. It usually completes a WU in the 140,000 to 160,000 CPU-sec range. That's a little less than two days of CPU time. Your box will about take about 10% longer but you should be able to meet the 2 week deadline as long as you keep Einstein's time percentage high enough to do 2 days work every two weeks (e.g. If your computer is on all the time, 20% or higher should do; but, if it's only on 8 hours per day, then you might need 60%.)

John McLeod VII
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If you have a new enough

If you have a new enough version of BOINC (4.36 or later) it will cope with any set of resource shares that you wish to use. However, you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time.

Drudge
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I am new to BOINC and to

I am new to BOINC and to Einstein. I'm running a 700 MHz Mac G4 with 512 MB of RAM and I get through an Einstein WU in ~54,200 seconds (a shade over 15 hours CPU time). I have four questions if I may about general preferences and about Einstein in particular.

(1) How often does Einstein lay down checkpoints?
(2) Can you force Einstein to make an unscheduled checkpoint if you have to shut down the computer for any reason and thereby avoid losing work?
(3) What is the meaning of the General Preference option "write to disc at most every 60 seconds"? Does it have any relationship to the checkpoint interval? The reason for asking is that I would like to keep the amount of disc activity to a reasonable minimum, consistent with the proper operation of the client.
(4) What happens if for any reason the client can't make a scheduled contact with the server? Does it keep trying, or does it wait until the next contact is due?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Verloren ist nur, wer sich selbst aufgibt. - Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Trillian-Hi
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Thanks, Jim K. I'm going to

Message 18153 in response to message 18149

Thanks, Jim K. I'm going to use your suggested settings. I had set disk & memory usage MUCH more conservatively.

Thanks for your advice, too, Stick.

I'm just processing my first E@H work unit now - started yesterday. (I had problems getting started, obviously - member sinces March. Among other things, I didn't allow enough time to download a work unit - takes 30-40 minutes. I'm so used to Seti@home - takes seconds.)

I'm still running Seti@home while running E@H. And my PC is on 24/7 except for an occasional reboot. In 24 hours, have completed 5.68%. So I'm not likely to make the October 25 deadline.

I don't understand your comment, John McLeod VII:

Quote:
However, you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time.

Thanks again.

Stick
Stick
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RE: I'm still running

Message 18154 in response to message 18153

Quote:

I'm still running Seti@home while running E@H. And my PC is on 24/7 except for an occasional reboot. In 24 hours, have completed 5.68%. So I'm not likely to make the October 25 deadline.

I don't understand your comment, John McLeod VII:

Quote:
However, you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time.

Thanks again.

I think I know what Jim meant: If you are using one of the newer BOINC's, the program will adjust its work schedule, in an attempt to meet all your deadlines. For example, if an Einstein unit deadline is approaching and your normal resource share does not give enough time to finish it, BOINC will "borrow" time from SETI in order to meet the deadline. Then, when it finishes the Einstein unit, it will "pay SETI back" for the time it "borrowed". When, the "pay back" is in process, BOINC may not ask Einstein for new work. Hence, "you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time".

One more thing: Since you are new to Einstein, you may not know about this issue yet. If you are using BOINC 4.45 and Einstein 4.79 (the Windows versions), and if you are using the BOINC screensaver (or "Show graphics" option), you may encounter the "graphics bug" - a problem that ends WU processing early with "Client error Computing" messages. If this happens to you, try the Beta application (under More Information on the E@H home page).

Stick
Stick
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RE: I am new to BOINC and

Message 18155 in response to message 18152

Quote:

I am new to BOINC and to Einstein. I'm running a 700 MHz Mac G4 with 512 MB of RAM and I get through an Einstein WU in ~54,200 seconds (a shade over 15 hours CPU time). I have four questions if I may about general preferences and about Einstein in particular.

(1) How often does Einstein lay down checkpoints?
(2) Can you force Einstein to make an unscheduled checkpoint if you have to shut down the computer for any reason and thereby avoid losing work?
(3) What is the meaning of the General Preference option "write to disc at most every 60 seconds"? Does it have any relationship to the checkpoint interval? The reason for asking is that I would like to keep the amount of disc activity to a reasonable minimum, consistent with the proper operation of the client.
(4) What happens if for any reason the client can't make a scheduled contact with the server? Does it keep trying, or does it wait until the next contact is due?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Since, I am not a MAC guy (anymore), I can't address your questions - but, there are several MAC experts who read and post on these boards. Recently, there has been a lot of MAC talk on this thread - Message boards : Cruncher's Corner : Dual-core P4 yet? If you don't get a response here soon, you might try getting their attention over there.

Walt Gribben
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RE: RE: I am new to BOINC

Message 18156 in response to message 18155

Quote:
Quote:

I am new to BOINC and to Einstein. I'm running a 700 MHz Mac G4 with 512 MB of RAM and I get through an Einstein WU in ~54,200 seconds (a shade over 15 hours CPU time). I have four questions if I may about general preferences and about Einstein in particular.

(1) How often does Einstein lay down checkpoints?
(2) Can you force Einstein to make an unscheduled checkpoint if you have to shut down the computer for any reason and thereby avoid losing work?
(3) What is the meaning of the General Preference option "write to disc at most every 60 seconds"? Does it have any relationship to the checkpoint interval? The reason for asking is that I would like to keep the amount of disc activity to a reasonable minimum, consistent with the proper operation of the client.
(4) What happens if for any reason the client can't make a scheduled contact with the server? Does it keep trying, or does it wait until the next contact is due?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Since, I am not a MAC guy (anymore), I can't address your questions - but, there are several MAC experts who read and post on these boards. Recently, there has been a lot of MAC talk on this thread - Message boards : Cruncher's Corner : Dual-core P4 yet? If you don't get a response here soon, you might try getting their attention over there.

99.94,

I'm not a MAC guy either, but it should work the same across platforms.

Q1-3: The "write to disk at most every __ seconds" is the checkpoint interval. AFAIK, you can't "force" a checkpoint. The default is 60 seconds, so it writes the checkpoint every minute. Check the file Fstats.ha.ckp and fstats.hb.ckp in the slots/n folder.

If you set the write interval to 600 seconds (10 minutes) you can lose that much crunch time if the application exits. [EDIT] It doesn't write a checkpoint when it exits so you can lose whatever was done since the last checkpoint. Checkpoints don't actually do that much, BOINC writes a new client_state.xml file and the Einstein application writes a pointer to the fstats.h*.ckp file. Its not like it writes the contents of memory each time.

All this is done on the host, nothing gets sent to the project servers until the application completes the workunit, then BOINC sends the result to the server.

Q4: Are you asking about BOINC to project server communications? If it can't connect it'll wait and retry. The wait time increases so it doesn't constantly retry if you have network problems.

If you're asking about the application to BOINC communications, the app checks for "heartbeat" messages from BOINC, if it doesn't see any for 30 seconds it exits. If this happens you'll see a "no heartbeat" message in stderr.txt - look in the file (slots/n) while its running, or in the result when its complete, uploaded and reported. If BOINC is running you'll see a "app exited with zero status but no finished file" message. That happens occasionally when something ties up BOINC for >30 seconds.

Walt

Drudge
Drudge
Joined: 5 Oct 05
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RE: RE: RE: I am new to

Message 18157 in response to message 18156

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:

I am new to BOINC and to Einstein. I'm running a 700 MHz Mac G4 with 512 MB of RAM and I get through an Einstein WU in ~54,200 seconds (a shade over 15 hours CPU time). I have four questions if I may about general preferences and about Einstein in particular.

(1) How often does Einstein lay down checkpoints?
(2) Can you force Einstein to make an unscheduled checkpoint if you have to shut down the computer for any reason and thereby avoid losing work?
(3) What is the meaning of the General Preference option "write to disc at most every 60 seconds"? Does it have any relationship to the checkpoint interval? The reason for asking is that I would like to keep the amount of disc activity to a reasonable minimum, consistent with the proper operation of the client.
(4) What happens if for any reason the client can't make a scheduled contact with the server? Does it keep trying, or does it wait until the next contact is due?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Since, I am not a MAC guy (anymore), I can't address your questions - but, there are several MAC experts who read and post on these boards. Recently, there has been a lot of MAC talk on this thread - Message boards : Cruncher's Corner : Dual-core P4 yet? If you don't get a response here soon, you might try getting their attention over there.

99.94,

I'm not a MAC guy either, but it should work the same across platforms.

Q1-3: The "write to disk at most every __ seconds" is the checkpoint interval. AFAIK, you can't "force" a checkpoint. The default is 60 seconds, so it writes the checkpoint every minute. Check the file Fstats.ha.ckp and fstats.hb.ckp in the slots/n folder.

If you set the write interval to 600 seconds (10 minutes) you can lose that much crunch time if the application exits. [EDIT] It doesn't write a checkpoint when it exits so you can lose whatever was done since the last checkpoint. Checkpoints don't actually do that much, BOINC writes a new client_state.xml file and the Einstein application writes a pointer to the fstats.h*.ckp file. Its not like it writes the contents of memory each time.

All this is done on the host, nothing gets sent to the project servers until the application completes the workunit, then BOINC sends the result to the server.

Q4: Are you asking about BOINC to project server communications? If it can't connect it'll wait and retry. The wait time increases so it doesn't constantly retry if you have network problems.

If you're asking about the application to BOINC communications, the app checks for "heartbeat" messages from BOINC, if it doesn't see any for 30 seconds it exits. If this happens you'll see a "no heartbeat" message in stderr.txt - look in the file (slots/n) while its running, or in the result when its complete, uploaded and reported. If BOINC is running you'll see a "app exited with zero status but no finished file" message. That happens occasionally when something ties up BOINC for >30 seconds.

Walt


Thanks very much for that. I agree, I would be surprised if the answers had other than cross platform application. Your reponse was exactly what I was looking for. ;>))

Verloren ist nur, wer sich selbst aufgibt. - Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Trillian-Hi
Trillian-Hi
Joined: 19 Mar 05
Posts: 3
Credit: 64,944
RAC: 0

RE: RE: I'm still running

Message 18158 in response to message 18154

Quote:
Quote:

I'm still running Seti@home while running E@H. And my PC is on 24/7 except for an occasional reboot. In 24 hours, have completed 5.68%. So I'm not likely to make the October 25 deadline.

I don't understand your comment, John McLeod VII:

Quote:
However, you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time.

Thanks again.

I think I know what Jim meant: If you are using one of the newer BOINC's, the program will adjust its work schedule, in an attempt to meet all your deadlines. For example, if an Einstein unit deadline is approaching and your normal resource share does not give enough time to finish it, BOINC will "borrow" time from SETI in order to meet the deadline. Then, when it finishes the Einstein unit, it will "pay SETI back" for the time it "borrowed". When, the "pay back" is in process, BOINC may not ask Einstein for new work. Hence, "you will not always have work from all projects on your computer at the same time".

One more thing: Since you are new to Einstein, you may not know about this issue yet. If you are using BOINC 4.45 and Einstein 4.79 (the Windows versions), and if you are using the BOINC screensaver (or "Show graphics" option), you may encounter the "graphics bug" - a problem that ends WU processing early with "Client error Computing" messages. If this happens to you, try the Beta application (under More Information on the E@H home page).

Hi again, Stick:

Everything's running well now. Finished the first work unit well before deadline.

When I mentioned SETI@home in my previous message, I should have specified SETI CLASSIC - so there was no resource share happening within BOINC - that's why I didn't understand John McLeod VII.

But now I have added BOINC SETI just to make life interesting! Got the resource sharing working well - even with SETI CLASSIC. So Jim's caution seems unwarranted - but we'll see - working on the first work units while running both EINSTEIN & SETI - but looks good - 16% done on each after 2 days - deadline in another week & a half.

For others who are running both SETIs see the comments on the SETI@home Questions & Answers board : Getting started : Transition from Old Seti Version 3.08.

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