Future of the Project

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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3304 - Posted: 10 Aug 2022, 17:18:41 UTC

I've been procrastinating in sharing some news and I finally got around to doing it.

My old thesis advisor who has been backing this project retired in May. I don't actually work for the university, so this means the project has lost is primary benefactor.

The good news is that the university has allowed the project to continue. The bad news is that they will not be supporting any more hardware upgrades. This means when the current hardware fails the project will come to an end.

I'm hoping the current hardware can last several more years. One of the most critical parts is the hard drive, and we just got a new one about 1.5 years ago. Given that the previous hard drive lasted over 4 years, this is a positive.

This news has played into my reasoning on the order of the searches. Given that sf3 is practically guaranteed to be complete, I though it was prudent to use our finite time to first concentrate on sf7. The short term goal is to get sf7 to the same state that sf3 is currently in, which should take us into early next year. At that point, we can either spend the time to finish off sf3 and sf7, or continue on with sf6. Doing sf6 will allow us to find more fields in the finite time we have left, but finishing off sf3 and sf7 will allow us to say with 100% certainty that they are indeed complete. I am leaning towards finishing off sf3 and sf7, but that may change as time goes on.
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Richard Haselgrove

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Message 3305 - Posted: 10 Aug 2022, 22:19:19 UTC - in response to Message 3304.  

Sorry to hear that. But it confirms a decision of my own.

All of us will have been incurring elevated electricity prices during the current emergencies, and here in the UK, we face another significant price jump in less than two months - at the beginning of October.

In recent years, I've been concentrating on ever-more-powerful GPU crunching, but I think with this price rise the time has come to cut back on that indulgence. So I'll be taking a dozen - reasonably modern and powerful - GPUs out of service, at least temporarily. In recent years, GPU projects have been increasingly encroaching on CPU computing, with applications utilising wasteful spin-wait synchronisation loops.

So mothballing the GPUs will release a similar number of CPU cores, and many of them will find their way here. We'll see whose hardware fails first, but I hope to give you a decent shove towards your objectives before either of us succumbs.
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mikey
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Message 3306 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 0:44:48 UTC - in response to Message 3304.  

I'm very sorry to hear this!! Is there a way you can put up a donation link to fund a new hard driver etc now so when you need one the amount needed is at least than a complete shutdown?
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Mladen

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Message 3307 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 3:12:59 UTC - in response to Message 3306.  

He can put name and description of the project and he will get funds in very short time for new ssd or hard drive whatever project is using and new computer (server) if needed in very short time
https://www.gofundme.com
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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3308 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 4:26:55 UTC - in response to Message 3306.  

I'm very sorry to hear this!! Is there a way you can put up a donation link to fund a new hard driver etc now so when you need one the amount needed is at least than a complete shutdown?


I had this conversation with them a few years back regarding donations, and the University would not do it. I can't remember if it was against their rules or maybe it was a legal issue. I could try again. Or possibly move the project somewhere else and use GoFundMe to pay for the hosting.
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Message 3309 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 5:54:47 UTC

I'm still looking forward to your future publications on current search. The cost of a publication may be way more than a new hard drive. So will we continue the project without the possibility to publish our results? Or better show the university that this project needs more funding by publishing our results and hopefully attract some grants. NFS@home said disk storage is cheap now. I don't want to see Numberfields@home being stopped by this.
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Message 3310 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 14:41:09 UTC

If you could post the manufacturer and part number of the hard disk, I'm sure one could be found and sent to you to have as a spare. If they are willing to host you, I would stay there. Electricity isn't cheap these days and that is an ongoing expense plus network costs. I'm sure the community would be willing to help where they can for parts etc. Last year I sent 4 ageing servers to Poland to help with another BOINC project.
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Jim1348

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Message 3311 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 15:12:45 UTC - in response to Message 3310.  

If you could post the manufacturer and part number of the hard disk, I'm sure one could be found and sent to you to have as a spare.

Certainly. Are they regular SATA interface drives? What size?
I have SSD's and rotating platters to spare. That would be easier than getting funds through the university.
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Michael S Barth

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Message 3312 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 16:40:01 UTC

I hope your advisor has a nice retirement. Like what was stated in previous messages, maybe you can setup a donation link. Maybe some people can make recurring donations so that this project can stay up and running. I would hate to see this project shut down.
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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3313 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 17:31:26 UTC - in response to Message 3309.  

I'm still looking forward to your future publications on current search. The cost of a publication may be way more than a new hard drive. So will we continue the project without the possibility to publish our results? Or better show the university that this project needs more funding by publishing our results and hopefully attract some grants. NFS@home said disk storage is cheap now. I don't want to see Numberfields@home being stopped by this.

We would need to complete the searches over the 3 remaining subfields to have something that's worthy of publication. But regardless of publication, all fields are uploaded to the LMF database, so the computations are not in vane.
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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3314 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 17:48:46 UTC

Thanks all for your comments. The problem is not the cost of the hardware, and I could even donate that myself to the University if it would help. I think the biggest issue is the server maintenance. I don't actually work for the University, so they need to get the IT department to do the install of any donated hardware (if they will even accept it), and that's a hassle for them. They had no problem doing it for a tenured professor, but now there is no one to fight that battle. If I was more of a people person and knew who's butt to kiss I might be able to make it happen, but that's not who I am. Anyways, I hope the hardware has several more years left in it, so this all becomes a mute point.
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Profile Vitaly

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Message 3315 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 18:03:30 UTC - in response to Message 3314.  
Last modified: 11 Aug 2022, 18:04:07 UTC

Maybe the problem will resolve itself over time. We have a few yeas more.
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Message 3316 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 18:44:54 UTC - in response to Message 3314.  

Thanks all for your comments. The problem is not the cost of the hardware, and I could even donate that myself to the University if it would help. I think the biggest issue is the server maintenance. I don't actually work for the University, so they need to get the IT department to do the install of any donated hardware (if they will even accept it), and that's a hassle for them. They had no problem doing it for a tenured professor, but now there is no one to fight that battle. If I was more of a people person and knew who's butt to kiss I might be able to make it happen, but that's not who I am. Anyways, I hope the hardware has several more years left in it, so this all becomes a mute point.

It sounds like the University owns the server. Is there a possibility that they might want to repurpose that server for something else sometime in the future and you lose the entire server?
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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3317 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 20:44:20 UTC - in response to Message 3316.  

Thanks all for your comments. The problem is not the cost of the hardware, and I could even donate that myself to the University if it would help. I think the biggest issue is the server maintenance. I don't actually work for the University, so they need to get the IT department to do the install of any donated hardware (if they will even accept it), and that's a hassle for them. They had no problem doing it for a tenured professor, but now there is no one to fight that battle. If I was more of a people person and knew who's butt to kiss I might be able to make it happen, but that's not who I am. Anyways, I hope the hardware has several more years left in it, so this all becomes a mute point.

It sounds like the University owns the server. Is there a possibility that they might want to repurpose that server for something else sometime in the future and you lose the entire server?


The math department owns the server and they agreed to let it keep hosting the NumberFields project. But I guess they could always change their minds down the road.
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Message 3318 - Posted: 11 Aug 2022, 21:45:45 UTC - in response to Message 3317.  

In worst case is it possible to organize the server at home. I think it should not be very powerful: i7/32GB/10TB.

I think our communitee can help with all expenses (hardware, electricity, new domain etc) if you organize donations.

Similar to Primegrid:
https://www.primegrid.com/donations.php
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Profile Eric Driver
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Message 3319 - Posted: 12 Aug 2022, 5:44:24 UTC - in response to Message 3318.  

In worst case is it possible to organize the server at home. I think it should not be very powerful: i7/32GB/10TB.

I think our communitee can help with all expenses (hardware, electricity, new domain etc) if you organize donations.

Similar to Primegrid:
https://www.primegrid.com/donations.php


I don't have enough bandwidth at home to handle the load, which was the main advantage of ASU. Besides, my ISP blocks ports 80 and 443 (and others). I would have to purchase a high speed dedicated connection and last I checked they were over $150 per month.
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Message 3320 - Posted: 13 Aug 2022, 19:06:36 UTC - in response to Message 3314.  

Thanks all for your comments. The problem is not the cost of the hardware, and I could even donate that myself to the University if it would help. I think the biggest issue is the server maintenance. I don't actually work for the University, so they need to get the IT department to do the install of any donated hardware (if they will even accept it), and that's a hassle for them. They had no problem doing it for a tenured professor, but now there is no one to fight that battle. If I was more of a people person and knew who's butt to kiss I might be able to make it happen, but that's not who I am. Anyways, I hope the hardware has several more years left in it, so this all becomes a mute point.


I think if you just ask SOMEONE out here has a friend or friend of a friend at ASU that can talk to you and maybe speak up on your behalf, maybe even someone who is now or has crunched Boinc Projects in the past. I also wonder if the Science folks would be interested in helping you, ASU has ALOT of different Departments that NFS research could kinda sorta relate too.
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Profile Michael H.W. Weber
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Message 3321 - Posted: 14 Aug 2022, 11:43:22 UTC

You might ask the guys at Rechenkraft.net to host the project as one of the many other subprojects in Yoyo@home as soon as you really have a problem with it's current location.

Michael.
President of Rechenkraft.net
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The TechRobo

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Message 3327 - Posted: 19 Aug 2022, 15:18:08 UTC - in response to Message 3304.  

I've just set "no new tasks" on a few of my other projects so my computer can focus more on this one. Universe@home especially sends a lot of tasks.
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hmetic

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Message 3329 - Posted: 20 Aug 2022, 23:25:48 UTC - in response to Message 3308.  

Thanks for doing this project !
I wish someone like linus tech tips could help out or something because this project is very cool.
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