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View Full Version : Contribute your squeezecenter server to world peace



mortslim
2009-05-23, 10:42
For those with a 24/7 squeezecenter server, how about doing double duty and using it also for some distributed computing task as well, like looking for beings from another world, finding a cure for cancer or otherwise helping humanity.

Here is lists of projects:

http://distributedcomputing.info/projects.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_distributed_computing_projects

If you know of any other projects, let us know.

Suggestion: maybe start a group called "squeezecenter" so that all of these contributions can be lumped together statistically.

teeitup
2009-05-23, 22:09
Great idea!

MY SC server is participating in the Folding@Home distributed computing project.

http://folding.stanford.edu/

Mnyb
2009-05-24, 00:49
My desktop is looking for E.T with the seti@home projekt

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/

And for gravity waves with Einstein@home

http://einstein.phys.uwm.edu/

Eidt: I first heard of this for many years ago, but a reminder now and then is good every one of these projects needs more participants

BBear
2009-05-24, 11:36
Suggestion: maybe start a group called "squeezecenter" so that all of these contributions can be lumped together statistically.

Hey I like that suggestion. I've just upgraded my QNAP to the TS-439 which sports an intel ATOM processor and 1GB RAM. Should be able to provide a reasonable amount of computing for one of the projects.

In addition to setting up a squeeze group I could do with some advice:
1. What project are we going to run?
2. Can anyone give advice on how to install a project on the QNAP operataing system (specifically for the TS-439)?

Thanks
BB

funkstar
2009-05-24, 12:43
I used to run Folding@home for the Hexus.net forums. I got tired of the massive bugs in their client and the additional load it put on my SqueezeCenter/MediaPortal box. It also meant my laptop was on full pelt all the time.

I much prefer the cooling to only kick in when it's actually needed rather than all the time :)

lazpete
2009-05-27, 01:00
Great idea!

MY SC server is participating in the Folding@Home distributed computing project.

http://folding.stanford.edu/

What a great idea!

Any team# i could join?

Lasse

SumnerBoy
2009-05-27, 02:33
I downloaded the Compute Against Cancer client for Linux but was unable to install as it requires a UI - and I am running a headless Ubuntu 8.10 server.

I am keen to utilise my server for something good so would like to try something. Does anyone know of any clients that will run on a headless server?

radish
2009-05-27, 06:44
Just don't forget that these cycles aren't free - your server will be using a lot more power running at 100% CPU 24/7. Personally, I prefer to donate a little cash to some of these causes and avoid the carbon emissions.

mortslim
2009-05-27, 07:14
your server will be using a lot more power

I think it depends on the server. Once you go 24/7, the new netbooks don't radically increase consumption by running a background program. My point for this thread is that if you are 24/7 anyway, adding a background program will be insignificant to your electric bill and be very significant to helping solve the world's problems.

radish
2009-05-27, 09:29
I think it depends on the server. Once you go 24/7, the new netbooks don't radically increase consumption by running a background program.
But it's not really a "background program" - these things are specifically designed to take 100% cpu when the machine is otherwise idle (which for a typical file server is almost all the time). It does of course depend very much on your machine, something like an Atom has a max usage of around 4W so a 50% change is largely irrelevant. A faster processor however could have a much bigger range - mine is running on an Athlon LE-1640 which has a max usage of 45W, compared with an idle usage closer to 10W - the difference there is obviously much greater. My guess is that more people are running SC on old P4 boxes (which use huge amounts of power) than Atoms, so the difference could be quite significant.

Add to that the fact that you're running the thing at max temps which may cause interesting issues depending on how good your cooling is (as well as increasing noise).

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from contributing if they want to, just making sure people are aware that it's not "free" computing power, it costs you some extra amount of money and it costs the environment some extra amount of carbon emissions, even if your machine is normally on 24/7 like mine.

Goodsounds
2009-05-27, 09:58
I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from contributing if they want to, just making sure people are aware that it's not "free" computing power, it costs you some extra amount of money and it costs the environment some extra amount of carbon emissions, even if your machine is normally on 24/7 like mine.

To add to your thoughtful analysis, please consider that power plants must always run at some production level that is greater than consumption. I don't remember the wiggle room factor, it's something over 10% of consumption, and many systems make such information available. (Where I am it is the California ISO). Because power plants don't throttle on and off, the unused factor is considerable at low use times, like overnight (20-30-40 percent or more)

Increasing power consumption of some number of PCs in people's homes will not result in any increase of carbon emissions.

radish
2009-05-27, 10:06
Increasing power consumption of some number of PCs in people's homes will not result in any increase of carbon emissions.
Very true, up to a point. You or I individually won't make any appreciable difference, but if everyone increased their domestic use 5% then new power plants would be needed to keep that 10% buffer. Likewise, if everyone lowered their domestic usage 5% I'm sure some plants could be shut down (and there certainly are plants which don't run 24/7 but are used only for peak times).

When it comes to SC servers I'm sure it's a tiny drop in a vast ocean, but when you have things like folding@home shipping on 10 million PS3s with no mention of the power issues (those things are thirsty), then I start to be a little concerned personally.

cooppw02
2009-05-27, 10:49
But it's not really a "background program" - these things are specifically designed to take 100% cpu when the machine is otherwise idle (which for a typical file server is almost all the time). It does of course depend very much on your machine, something like an Atom has a max usage of around 4W so a 50% change is largely irrelevant. A faster processor however could have a much bigger range - mine is running on an Athlon LE-1640 which has a max usage of 45W, compared with an idle usage closer to 10W - the difference there is obviously much greater. My guess is that more people are running SC on old P4 boxes (which use huge amounts of power) than Atoms, so the difference could be quite significant.

Add to that the fact that you're running the thing at max temps which may cause interesting issues depending on how good your cooling is (as well as increasing noise).

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from contributing if they want to, just making sure people are aware that it's not "free" computing power, it costs you some extra amount of money and it costs the environment some extra amount of carbon emissions, even if your machine is normally on 24/7 like mine.

This depends a lot on the hardware, OS, client, and power consumption settings. It is possible to run one of these programs without significantly altering the power consumption of the machine. The laptop I run SC and Folding@home on cruises along at 800Mhz most of the time. It instantly scales up to 2.2Ghz (or any of the notches in between) if a process with a high priority demands it.

Goodsounds
2009-05-27, 10:58
Very true, up to a point. You or I individually won't make any appreciable difference, but if everyone increased their domestic use 5% then new power plants would be needed to keep that 10% buffer. Likewise, if everyone lowered their domestic usage 5% I'm sure some plants could be shut down (and there certainly are plants which don't run 24/7 but are used only for peak times).

When it comes to SC servers I'm sure it's a tiny drop in a vast ocean, but when you have things like folding@home shipping on 10 million PS3s with no mention of the power issues (those things are thirsty), then I start to be a little concerned personally.

Well, then I think you're beating the wrong drum. You admonished mortslim for his suggestion for SC servers, but now you agree there's no significant consumption impact of doing so. If the problem is PS3 users, go after them.

In the US, most electrical consumption is commercial/industrial and summertime air conditioning. Addiing PCs and/or leaving them on in homes has less than a negligible effect on production and infrastructure, it arguably has no effect at all.

Sorry, I'm perhaps overly sensitive to people who espouse feel-good causes and who think that gives them the right to tell others what to do.

mortslim
2009-05-27, 12:00
new power plants would be needed

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") is a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications to a logical but absurd consequence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

I am suggesting ideas to save the world, not destroy it. I’m not advocating "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Tre


If you’re really concerned about your power bill, make sure you turn off lights when not using them and make sure you have energy efficient units for your major appliances (The Refrigerator/Freezer, The Washer/Dryer, and your AC/Heat). In addition, good insulation for your house makes a huge difference. Ride a bike, walk and use public transportation rather than use your car. Buy your food at local farmer’s markets. Avoid meat consumption because of the power needed to raise the beef and transport it. Don’t use a dryer at all, hang your clothes to dry. Take Navy showers (max 2 minutes). Reduce heat in the winter – get a big coat and insulated underwear.

Disconnect the TV, radio and cellphone charger (they consume power even when “off”). If you want music, forget a squeezebox and a server for it; just sing (not in the shower). Forget email; write letters just like Benjamin Franklin.

Everyone will find their own comfort level with energy efficiency.

My point is just that if you do have a 24/7 server anyway, it really doesn’t cost significantly extra to add a distributed computing task.

Regarding a year old Eee PC (newer models are even more efficient): “We measured the Eee PC at idle and under full load, and it sipped the juice at a low 14.5W to a peak consumption of 18W.”

http://www.computerpoweruser.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles%2Farchive%2Fc0801%2F1 3c01%2F13c01.asp

Distributed computing applications allow you to set “the option of desired processor usage percent”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volunteer_computing

So you can decide yourself how much of your CPU you want to dedicate to this endeavor while your computer/server is powered on and otherwise idle.

And, you can decide to turn off your computer/server at any time of your own choosing. You could decide, e.g. to just devote 15 minutes each week to a worthwhile project.

You control the on/off switch.

oktup
2009-05-28, 03:57
Something else to consider is that presumably, in some of these cases, the work would eventually be done 'in-house' anyway. So by contributing to a distributed project, you might be helping to prevent the procurement (and therefore manufacturing) of many new 'in-house' servers - thus making a significant net resource/energy saving.

Additionally, for the likes of folding@home, there are further significant moral and practical considerations - the energy/resources saved if we could prevent or cure conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, cancer, etc would be immense, and would surely dwarf the computing power used by the distributed clients. And the ethical justification for contributing to potentially life-saving research is obviously quite strong.

Personally, I wasn't running such a client before coming across this thread, but will now give folding@home a try, so thanks.


PS - as someone speculated earlier in the thread, I am one of those people using an old, comparitively inefficient box as a server. Is there any kind of consensus on whether it's more environmentally friendly to buy a new 'green' machine and trash the old one, or to keep the old one going while it still works? I've been suspecting the latter, but not really sure. Thanks.