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[AF>Libristes] ElGuillermo

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Message 5402 - Posted: 12 May 2022, 23:05:51 UTC - in response to Message 5395.  


...
The only benefit of option 2 is if you are a jerk and want to play the probabilities, and are treating the whole thing like a game instead of a fun way to get more science done.


I agree : there's always some *jerks*, unfortunately.
But I'm pretty sure you'll agree they are absolutely not representatives of the Boinc community.
Though, I understand the frustration of "normal" Boinc users who actually face server downtimes. This is quite annoying and, believe me, absolutely not intended, as it kills the fun even for competitors.

The Boinc servers are quite efficient, but the "average guy" CPU power has increased quite impressively these last years : as the Boinc projects owners can't afford thousand dollars machines/network throughput, competitions are becoming quite a challenge to face :/ I hope the lessons will be learned and solutions will be found to avoid frustrating people :)
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Brummig
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Message 5412 - Posted: 13 May 2022, 14:36:34 UTC - in response to Message 5402.  

If a football team from half way round the globe with which you had no connection or interest decided to spend the next two weeks playing competition matches 24/7 on your front lawn, preventing you from leaving your house or playing football with your own children, what would you think of them?
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xii5ku

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Message 5420 - Posted: 14 May 2022, 7:38:04 UTC - in response to Message 5412.  
Last modified: 14 May 2022, 7:44:20 UTC

@Brummig, this metaphor doesn't work quite right. Whose front lane is this? From a quick look at the footer of this page, we are all guests of the Copernicus Astronomical Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences here (invited to bring computer time for their research).

Note, unlike some other contests, the Pentathlon is carefully prepared upfront; most notably the organizers are in touch with the project owners beforehand and during the contest. Projects enter the Pentathlon after the explicit agreement of the project owners, among other preconditions. And both the owner and the organizers were certainly well aware of the specific limitations of the respective project when they planned the contest. The one element which is hard for them to estimate beforehand is how massive the computer capacity of the Pentathletes will be exactly.

And another side note: As an anecdotal example, about 90 % of the computer time which I for one donated so far to Universe@Home, ever since I registered here, was motivated by contests. We all are here for different reasons, and some of us are here for contests. Pentathlon especially gathers a lot of users, and many of these users bring everything and the kitchen sink online while they participate in the contest. Not just their participation, even their investments into computer hardware throughout the year are quite often planned for those occasions during the year when they would want to bring all of it online.

Anyway. By graciously hosting the Obstacle Run contest of the Pentathlon, the Universe@Home project struck true gold. For about 2.5 weeks wall clock time, this project is producing near or at its actual capacity. This means that the project servers into which the project owners invested, and/or their internet link, are now fully utilized. Inevitably this also means that a part of the donated computing capacity is underutilized (unless donors react and shift some capacity to a different project). So this is a quite ideal situation for the project to be in, with the only downsides of (1.) presumably an increased need for the admin's attention to keep everything going, (2.) invariably, some complaints from some donors about underutilization of their computers, which is natural as they focus on the operation of their computers, while looking less at the bigger picture.
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Grant (SSSF)

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Message 5425 - Posted: 14 May 2022, 20:55:15 UTC - in response to Message 5420.  

Anyway. By graciously hosting the Obstacle Run contest of the Pentathlon, the Universe@Home project struck true gold. For about 2.5 weeks wall clock time, this project is producing near or at its actual capacity. This means that the project servers into which the project owners invested, and/or their internet link, are now fully utilized.
Sorry, but that's just a load of self serving rubbish.

For a 2.5 week period, the work done is quadrupled. Sounds really, really impressive, when in fact it is such a very, very small contribution to the work done throughout the year as to be of no significance what so ever- other than annoying the crap out of those that do the work for whole 100% of the year, including the 95%+ period when the competition stupidity isn't taking place.

A four fold increase in work for what is less than 5% of the year is in fact sweet bugger all. Or to look at it another way- 8 weeks worth of work done in 2.5 weeks, when there are 52 weeks in a year is once again a drop in the ocean, and results in a period where any new comers to the project will most likely attach, then then detach when they can't get any work, get work but can't report it, get work but can't return it (or better yet all of the above at the same time) and just annoys those that are doing work for the project for the other 95% of the time the competition isn't running.


As pointless as competitions are, i don't have any great issue with them= when they don't impact on the general running of the project.
But as i've pointed out- no matter how impressive their numbers might be at the time their actual contribution to a project (even a small project) is actually insignificant so when they result in the regular members of a project no longer being able to get, return, or report work without significant manual intervention, then they are no value at all (other than providing an extended load test of the project's servers to identify bottlenecks to allow for upgrades to make handling such future loads possible).
Grant
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[AF>Libristes] ElGuillermo

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Message 5426 - Posted: 14 May 2022, 23:25:20 UTC - in response to Message 5425.  

Hi !

Your point is valid : actually, newcomers will have some hard time with the project.
Believe me (and I am pretty sure I talk for almost all the people involved in this "competition stupidity") : we have zero interest to ruin other users experience.

About the "this is my lawn" thing :
As xii5ku said : this is *not* anyone's lawn. We are all invited to play on it.
We would prefer to see you joining us to play on the common lawn, but we won't force you : after all, this is just a game, not a war declaration.
If you think the lawn gets too crowded and you consider there is not enough room for *you*, just wait for the end of the game, or go play elsewhere : there is a lot of Boinc projects hoping for your precious CPU power.

As you seem pretty confident we are all selfish people, you may only think we'd like our "stupid" competition not to be slowed down by a weakly driven project.
Truth is : we certainly do not want to do any harm to the project, we absolutely do not want to annoy you.

Still... Fact is the server is overcharged. Work units downloads and uploads are slowed down. This *is* a poor experience for us all.
You may rejoice : our "competition stupidity" will come to its end in 4 days. Things will then be back to "normal". The lawn will be all yours again. Have fun !

We all are engaged in distributed computing experience, involving some computer skills and... "passion" ?
I'm sure you have already tried to give some machine power to strange new Boinc projects, right ?
Some of them, in alpha mode, throwed you results in error after hours of calculation... Or disappeared after some days of testing phase... Wasting you precious CPU time and electricity bills.

If so : remember you decided to engage CPU/GPU power in a *community* effort for free.
You took risks to help foreign searchers to prove obscure conjectures you can't understand without a physics PhD.
As you're a computer and Boinc enthusiast, you've accepted your efforts could lead to *nothing", because this is the way science works.

If you want to be absolutely sure you won't "loose" any CPU time, do as we all do : sign in multiple projects.
You'll be sure to have your CPUs/GPUs always fed, avoiding single-server timeouts and "competition stupidity".
(Unfortunately, I can't guaranty you won't encounter useless/bad driven/crazy projects).

I'm pretty sure you won't get them right, but please receive my apologies for these hard times you are facing.
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Brummig
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Message 5453 - Posted: 16 May 2022, 10:40:49 UTC

My earlier comment was prompted by the comment above it that said "The only benefit of option 2 is if you are a jerk and want to play the probabilities". It was intended to make people engaged in the competition think about their own actions, the effect they have on others, and what those others may be thinking as a result. I apologise if my analogy was not quite perfect enough for those trying to justify their actions with lengthy posts. As someone not engaged in the competition, I just see a two week long DDOS attack on an innocent internet service, and the whys and wherefores of that attack are irrelevant. Indeed, the people who never return a result are arguably less of a problem because at least they create a lesser overload of the available bandwidth.

Personally I certainly don't have a problem with people running competitions (and I would imagine that applies to other commenters on this thread and others who are are fed up with the effects of this competition), but how about playing nicely, and not creating chaos for two weeks? Why not limit the competition to one day per BOINC project, for example?
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[AF>Libristes] ElGuillermo

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Message 5455 - Posted: 16 May 2022, 11:40:58 UTC - in response to Message 5453.  

Yep. That what I mean by "I hope the lessons will be learned and solutions will be found to avoid frustrating people".

These unintentionnal massive DDoS are relatively new (at least on "solid" projects like Universe@home)
They may be related to the increasing number of mutlicore CPUs in PC. Now, even a simple office desktop has at least 4 cores, and we all know we all have 8+ cores hyperthreaded beasts at home... Only way to get through is, effectively, limiting the competition time period, as project owners certainly won't get enough I/O speed to sustain a massive charge for only two weeks a year. One may imagine some kind of cloud based server, using shared ressources that could be resized according to the actual work, but this would also get increased annual fees :/

I'm pretty sure we'll find a way to play nicely. We have plenty of qualified people to think about it among Boinc enthusiasts :)
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ace_quaker

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Message 5466 - Posted: 16 May 2022, 17:51:22 UTC

The lesson to be learned was to remove universe from the pentathlon project list back on the 4th when it was obviously turned into a ddos shitfest.

I can only cache ~1.5 days of work before I reach the task limit in progress so don't tell me to ride it out. The whole two week burst is retarded anyway as it incentivizes throwing every system under the sun regardless of performance per watt. So congrats at bursting the work done for universe but taking 2-3 times the energy to do it and pushing people out who optimize for 24/7 performance per watt. You cant even use this waste heat for your homes as once again you idiots scheduled it for almost summer in the northern hemisphere. Everything about the pentathlon is a big f*ck you to energy efficiency and yearlong supporters of each project.
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xii5ku

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Message 5482 - Posted: 17 May 2022, 10:20:15 UTC - in response to Message 5425.  
Last modified: 17 May 2022, 10:28:16 UTC

Grant (SSSF) wrote:
Sorry, but that's just a load of self serving rubbish.
As I said, about 90 % of the computer time which I, for one, donated to Universe@home so far were motivated by contests. In other words, if it weren't for contests, that part of my modest contribution, as an example, wouldn't be here. And yes, some care for competitions, others don't.

ace_quaker wrote:
[...] it incentivizes throwing every system under the sun regardless of performance per watt.
There is probably some truth to that. I on the other hand brought only comparably efficient server systems to the contest. (I built them myself and operate them at home.)
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Ian&Steve C.

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Message 5487 - Posted: 17 May 2022, 12:55:48 UTC - in response to Message 5482.  

it's sad that by your metrics you only donate compute resources due to interest in a competition rather than interest in the project.

the project is just fine without you.
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mikey
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Message 5513 - Posted: 17 May 2022, 21:59:15 UTC - in response to Message 5453.  

My earlier comment was prompted by the comment above it that said "The only benefit of option 2 is if you are a jerk and want to play the probabilities". It was intended to make people engaged in the competition think about their own actions, the effect they have on others, and what those others may be thinking as a result. I apologise if my analogy was not quite perfect enough for those trying to justify their actions with lengthy posts. As someone not engaged in the competition, I just see a two week long DDOS attack on an innocent internet service, and the whys and wherefores of that attack are irrelevant. Indeed, the people who never return a result are arguably less of a problem because at least they create a lesser overload of the available bandwidth.

Personally I certainly don't have a problem with people running competitions (and I would imagine that applies to other commenters on this thread and others who are are fed up with the effects of this competition), but how about playing nicely, and not creating chaos for two weeks? Why not limit the competition to one day per BOINC project, for example?


Each Project selected for the Challenge is given a heads-up at least 2 weeks ahead of time and has the right to say 'no thanks', Challenge Projects are not chosen randomly but instead to give the Project a boost and some new 'eyes on' so that post Challenge some people just might stay.

The problem with your one Project a day idea is that just about the time you get all 300 of your pc's setup it's time to stop getting new tasks and abort the existing ones so you can get new tasks from the next Project, I think that could be even worse for the Projects involved. Now a 3 or 4 day maximum Challenge per Project would work I think.
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mikey
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Message 5515 - Posted: 17 May 2022, 22:21:16 UTC - in response to Message 5395.  

supddod wrote


The only benefit of option 2 is if you are a jerk and want to play the probabilities, and are treating the whole thing like a game instead of a fun way to get more science done. At major competitions, there will always be more tasks returned by other teams compared to your team. I have heard of some folks engaging in the behaviour during these competitions that they pull down as many extra caches that they can with no intention of crunching them, the only purpose being to avoid validation of those work units during the competition. It is highly more likely that those tasks will belong to work units assigned to other teams compared to your own.

I, too, have been around BOINC for a number of years (closing in on 8) and have participated in multiple competitions. I agree with you completely that essentially all participants are here to advance the science and would have no part in option 2. That, however, doesn't preclude that there are some bad actors, and I was simply presenting two potential explanations to what pawg was seeing. As noted above, these turned out to be bunkering systems, as expected.


First Thank You for sticking with it!!

And some of us are pushing nearly 40 years, challenges are one way to get ALOT of new users to look at a project that they might not normally pick and then come back post Challenge. And easy thing for people not participating in the Challenges is to keep an eye on what Projects are involved and to avoid them for the time of the Challenge. the Pentathlon ends at midnight the 19th GMT https://www.seti-germany.de/boinc_pentathlon/ BTW this is the 13th year of the Pentathlon so you should have heard about it before.

As for "bunkering" it's a common thing especially with people who pay extra for their internet at certain times than other times, that means it's cheaper to crunch for Boinc if they can limit their connectivity choices. Not everyone lives in the high tech wifi and cable internet everywhere World, as long as the tasks are returned prior to their deadline no one cares except when Challenges come along and then alot of us are trying to get new tasks and returned our completed ones before it ends. As Grant said if you add in the 'bonus' given for this or that Project and "bunkering" is how your Team wins!!

Before it was outlawed we even did 'sneaker nets' where one pc would download ALOT of tasks and then we would use floppy disks to transfer them to other pc's to crunch them then copy them back again to the original pc to return them and get new tasks, that involved ALOT of "bunkering". That was back in the dial-up days mostly though I did use it until internet cables became cheap enough to run to every pc.
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Brummig
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Message 5556 - Posted: 19 May 2022, 11:30:49 UTC - in response to Message 5513.  

The problem with your one Project a day idea is that just about the time you get all 300 of your pc's setup it's time to stop getting new tasks and abort the existing ones so you can get new tasks from the next Project

So penalise people who abort tasks (or simply don't return them), and make part of the game ensuring you have enough tasks, but not too many. That would also address task hoarding.

But feel free to come up with your own suggestions for rules that don't annoy those not involved in the competition.
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