Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
IBM Hardware

IBM Grid Near 50,000 machines - Slashdot Users #13 408

another similar writes "IBM's World Community Grid is off to a roaring start. Since kicking off six weeks ago (original Slashdot story), the grid has grown to almost 36,000 users with almost 50,000 machines. Growth continues as more media coverage hits. There is a team of Slashdot users - currently ranked 13th in points with only 79 members. If you have spare cycles, download the software, join us and crank for medicine. For those of you with dual processor systems, you'll have to use a homebrewed tool - beyond two is not supported yet. Alas, you also have to be running Redmond's finest. According to their FAQ, a Linux client is slated for development in 2005."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Grid Near 50,000 machines - Slashdot Users #13

Comments Filter:
  • There is a team of Slashdot users [] - currently ranked 13th in points with only 79 members. . . . Alas, you also have to be running Redmond's finest.

    Which is why there are only 79 /.ers signed up. When they get the Linux client, they'll get 79,000 /.ers.

  • Imagine... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:52PM (#11225093) Homepage
    a Beowu...


    I can't say it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:54PM (#11225099)
    System requirements: Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98

    If, as the submitter implies, Windows ME is Redmond's "finest"...

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:56AM (#11225460)
      I'm one of the authors of the code they are running as the first application of the world grid. This is Rosetta, the protein structure prediction program. Rosetta was born on Linux. It can run on a mac too but not as well. There never was a version developed for Windows. But hand it to the the IBM folks to create a wrapper that lets it run as a grid "screen saver" scavenger application on windows. Pretty remarkable.

      Of course the reason for this is obvious right? windows dominated the planet not only in installed systems but in installed systems with cycles to spare. i.e. desktops. So dont cry your eyes out over it not being linux compatible. The excess linux bandwidth after you subtract our the servers is not going to be a lot. Console yourself that the TCO of linux is really a lot less when you figure that linux computers are already too busy to be bothered with Grid computing. :-)

      Rosetta itself was written in fortran and only recently converted to C++. the C++ conversion was done using the incredibly well designed Objexx Library by stuart metzner and colleagues. This is a library that lets you write fortran code in C++. Before this people who tried to re-write this behemoth to C++ just died in the process. The objexx library let the whole thing be converted to C++ in one fell swoop. Now the program will slowly evolve from fortran style to C++ object orientation as it continues to grow. But in the meantime the code is productive. Nice Eh? The cool thing is that with a bit of optimization the code did not lose any appreciable speed in the conversion. So if you have legacy fortran you use for speed, consider converting it using Objexx. I was one of the people who argued for going to fortran95 not c++ because I feeared a speed loss; Iv'e become a convert

      In any event the program is not like folding at home. That program tries to study in detail the picosecond evolution of single protien as it folds. Rosetta simply predicts the folded structure. Its actually quite fast at doing that. But it turns out it makes lots of different predictions. So you have to do it tens of thousands of times and then see which geometries of folded structures are favored statistically. Then you do the next protein. Eventually you work your way through the whole human genome.

      also unlike folding at home the potential surface in rosetta is less physics based and more bayesian statistice. It has statistical potential for the probability of a peptide backbone structure occuring. And it has a probabilty for a sidechain amino acid sequence given a backbone structure. Multiply those together and bayes rule says the result is proportional to the probablity of a structrure given a sequence. You can read more about this here []. Click on publications.

      This statistical potential turns out to be so accurate that it can not only be used to predict the structure of proteins but it can be used in reverse to design a novel structured protein. Recently it was used to design a protein with a tolopology that had never previously existied in nature. This is rather an amazing results. Others had previously redesigned the sequences of existing topologies or perturbed those topologies or created some special case topologies. But Brian Kuklman in David Baker's lab actually started from a napkin sketch and designed a protein from scratch.

      After you predict the structure of a protein, one thing you can do is ask if that structure is like another Protein you have seen before. You can compare the structure of a model to a real protein using a program known as MAMMOTH. While there are a variety of programs for comparing two proteins this one is particularly good for the case of comparing an inaccurate model to an experimentally known structure. If they match then you can assume the protiens may share a related function or evolutionary origin (or not!).

      whihc brings us to what proteins are. Think of DNA as a disk drive that

  • World Community Grid's mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity. Also, jtr finds passwords a lot quicker on the grid than on my old P4.
  • by The Bandit ( 17525 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:56PM (#11225111) Homepage
    It's SOOOOOoooo..... long to wait for.
  • I've got nine computers here that would be perfect for running the software (above 2.0ghz). Should I join Jew's for Science or the Slashdot team?
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:59PM (#11225135) Homepage Journal

    Does the client work under ABI translation [] on Linux or *BSD on x86?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:00AM (#11225142)
    There is a team of Slashdot users - currently ranked 13th in points with only 79 members.


    Alas, you also have to be running Redmond's finest. According to their FAQ, a Linux client is slated for development in 2005.

    Seriously, are they at ALL suprised that there are only 79 members? They are talking about the linux capital of the universe.
  • Ownership FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:01AM (#11225155)
    For those keeping track,


    This is from the license. Just something to watch for in the future if you like Big Blue (or don't like them) or are concerned about it.
    • My guess is United Devices []:
      Current Project: Human Proteome Folding

      United Devices has begun a new and exciting research project -- the Human Proteome Folding Project -- in collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology, the University of Washington, and IBM Corporation.

    • This is a serious ethical consideration. The site does a good job of playing the "we are the world" card, but is there any verification that we arent crunching numbers to crack codes for some government?

      Their big success story was to find candidates for a smallpox treatment for the department of defense. *puts tin-foil hat on*

      I remember when united devices hooked up with intel to run a similiar program. Is UD trustable? It doesnt seem as trustworthy as, say, stanfords folding@home project.

      Blows my mind
  • Cheat to win (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:02AM (#11225158)
    This requires two computers, one "fast" and one "slow," to work, but you can get a massive number of points. Run the WCG client on your slow computer for up to 12-13 days (the limit is two weeks per unit) or until its almost done, then run it (over a network or whatever) on your fast computer. The result is a work unit that took a long long time with a fast machine's speed rating. BAM! HUGE POINTS.

    They should really fix it and record the machine speed every few %.
    • Re:Cheat to win (Score:3, Informative)

      by bfizzle ( 836992 )
      Wouldn't work...

      Points are calculated and awarded each time a work unit is completed and a result is successfully returned to World Community Grid Servers. Points are totaled across all machines aggregated under a specific World Community Grid Member.

      Points are based upon the strength of your machine(s), measured against World Community Grid Comparison Device. First, the "strength" of your participating machine(s) is calculated by measuring the following parameters of your machine against World Community
  • Funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pertinax18 ( 569045 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:02AM (#11225161) Homepage
    It's funny that the article makes a big deal about having only 79 members and being ranked 13th in total points. Well, as of now, they are also ranked 15th in total members, so when you combine the two facts it isn't nearly as impressive.
  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:02AM (#11225163)
    That's like saying your car comes from Yugoslavia's Finest!
  • by onetruedabe ( 116148 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:07AM (#11225188) Homepage
    Global Grid Exchange [] has a Linux client, and has an open SDK/API for developing your own Grid Apps.

    Also, the Global Grid Exchange client runs in a secure [] Java sandbox, so there's no fear of being 0wned by malicious code.

  • Uhhh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax&gmail,com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:08AM (#11225195) Journal
    crank for medicine

    no comment...
    </too easy>
  • BW? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:08AM (#11225196) Journal
    I have a PeeCee that sits around hardly ever being used now that my dumbass employer no longer allows employee owned equipment to use the VPN connections.

    Can anyone find any info on the network bandwidth this thing will use up? I may not use the PC for anything else, but I don't want my wee little cable modem fed network swamped when I'm on the Apple boxen.

  • by Complicity ( 30481 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:09AM (#11225199)
    Alas, you also have to be running Redmond's finest.
    DOS 6.22?
  • Runs on WINE (Score:5, Informative)

    by b0lt ( 729408 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:10AM (#11225209)
    It seems to run on WINE [] for me, but I've only ran it for maybe 3 minutes now. I'm using TransGaming's Cedega [] (formerly WineX) version of WINE to run it though, so I'm not quite sure if it works with plain WINE.

    • Cedega isn't hardly even wine any more. Someone posted that the installer didn't work on his stock debian wine earlier.

      I dont see the point of this arcitcle, IBM put together a poorly designed windows only app (for charity).

      Should we really be supporting IBM's charities when it's clear they dont respect our cause? I see this as only an attempt to get uber status for slashdot, uber status on a McD's playground that is.
      • Actually, with all due respect, when the "cause" becomes more important than then improvement of the human condition, perhaps priorities need to be re-examined.

        As long as this is worthwhile, for the public good, I have spare cycles, and I have Windows boxes, I will be helping out this effort.

  • ... that for a company that touted to spend a billion dollars on Linux for R&D in a year (in 2001), and have a large Linux on-line material, when it comes to show off their expertise, with all the media attention and hype they hope to produce with such an announcement, they favor starting off with Windows clients.

    Am I missing something ?
    • Um, you have heard of this company "IBM", right? They are HUGE. GIGANTIC. With many divisions. Just because they have Linux servers doesn't mean Betty in HR is using it.
    • Here is my understanding from a look at the site (I could be wrong):

      IBM donated the servers and software infrastructure (server software, libraries, etc). United Devices wrote the client (screensaver) that links each node into the grid (presumably using IBM libraries to talk to the grid).

      IBM grid infrastructure (main page [], devel []) contains several components. I haven't looked at them all, but it seems most components run on a variety of platforms including AIX, Linux and Windows. In fact the few server

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )
      Am I missing something ?

      You haven't thought it through. IBM isn't stupid. They know that the more clients participate, the more successful their project will be. They also know which OS is installed on the majority of potential client PCs worldwide. So when it came time to decide which OS to write a client for first, they did the sensible thing.

      The Linux client will arrive soon enough, just wait. (I'm waiting for the BeOS client, myself ;^))

    • Am I missing something ? Just the other 98% of the desktop users.
  • What about dnetc? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HoepckeD ( 791222 ) <> on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:22AM (#11225285) [] Been around forever, have done far more impressive work than Big Blue . . . and I think they've had Linux clients for a little while.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Alas, you also have to be running Redmond's finest.

    What does Solitaire have to do with this?
  • by digitac ( 24581 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:24AM (#11225298) Homepage
    Windows only, and only 2 processors? Darn. Now what am I going to do with the 14 node ClusterKnoppix I put together this afternoon. ::Digitac
    • Or how about a half a dozen dual HP LC-2000i's ... all running one Un*x or the other (4 Linux, 2 BSD). Not to mention all the engineering workstations _using_ IBM's hardware with their dual PPC processor's sitting in the G5's (OS X, yet another Un*x).

      All they offer is a .exe type file. I've heard about those, but:
      $ ./WorldCommunityGridAgent.exe ./WorldCommunityGridAgent.exe: cannot execute binary file

      $ file ./WorldCommunityGridAgent.exe ./WorldCommunityGridAgent.exe: MS-DOS executable (EXE), OS/2 or MS W
  • I am currently [] running Folding@Home []. As soon as I finish with that research, I will move my 20Ghz to the next medical research project.

    **They also have a Linux client.
  • Open Grid ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by djplurvert ( 737910 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:34AM (#11225349)
    At the risk of sounding naive, is anybody aware of a group of amateurs running a grid on a smaller scale.

    I'm not thinking of your typical "let's all save the world with cpu cycles" kind of project. Rather, somthing on a smaller scale that allows you to join the grid with the intent of using it for your own projects.

    I did some work last year that made use of apple's grid software on some lab computers at school but it would have been nice to have access to 1000 or 2000 machines for a day or so.

    I can imagine there are sharing issues that might make it impractical but I can also imagine that it might just work considering, at least for me, the sporadic nature of the need for such a grid.

    • Part of me is fascinated by the idea of an 'Open Grid'.
      What an interesting concept.
      Part of me is scared to death.
      You can call me niave if you want. But aren't the security concerns of something like this kind of nightmarish?
    • Re:Open Grid ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) *
      Charles Parnot at Stanford made a grid [] for his personal project. He's got more than a hundred people donating some spare cycles to his grid which is pretty impressive for a fairly small project. Daniel Côté started an awesome project [] to get Xgrid working on non-OSX Unix systems. With a bit of work his Xgrid Agent program could be really robust and reliable enough for getting real work done. Like you I'd like to see this technology proliferate so maybe we can start seeing open grids pop up in vario
  • by another similar ( 714282 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:48AM (#11225427)
    Well, forty minutes after the post going live, Slashdot Users team member count has shot us into #1 position. Now we'll just need to see how long it's going to take to push Big Blue (x6), five members of the G8 and Norway below us in the point count. I'm guessing several weeks, but maybe this will get more bang for the buck than I had anticipated.

    To clarify, since I've been poked several times in comments already - "Redmond's Finest" was intended to be dripping with sarcasm.... But most Slashdot users are likely wicked smart enough to have known that.... I did enjoy the quip about DOS 6.22... Bravo!

    With respect to your options on teams, rather than Jews for Science, I would suggest considering, who's page states:

    Web Cam girls and woman offering their machines when they are not online to help and give back to the world. If you put your machine to help this project and join our team, Send us and email and we will offer you Free time to come and chat with us. The Girls from GIRLSOFLOVE.COM We also provide web broadcasting web video chat conference applications We are from all over the world Montreal Quebec Toronto Vancouver Canada america usa france britain italia brazil mexico argentina asia

    This could be fulfilling in, er, other ways, but obviously, being on the #1 team (in user count) and soon to be #1 in points, results, etc. is a lot cooler....

    Thanks Slashdotters for taking things up another notch (or 20)!
  • Now the slashdot group is #1 in users and #10 in points returned.
  • (order of importance)

    1. Project is either a true non-profit project or I get a piece of the action. Example of non-profit, Seti@home. I am willing to consider a university project like that non-profit. You may dismiss Seti@home because of the abusrbly low chances it has of finding something, but I choose to see it has having a tremendous value to computer science. Example of getting a piece of the action, Easynews will give me 1 gig of transfers for every 15 days I run the Grid.Org client. Thing abou
  • I remember a while ago when that scummy company tried to use Kazaa users' clock cycles to do grid computing and then sell that power that people had a royal shit fit over them profiting from this.

    A similar shitfit was had when another company released a screensaver that did something similar, but they made all the profits by selling the data.

    Is IBM selling this data and reaping all the profits? Or are they donating this data once we've donated the clock cycles?

    • Re:Is IBM profiting? (Score:2, Informative)

      by kamesh ( 795742 )
      I think it is non-profit... The World Community Grid is strictly a philanthropic project currently funded by IBM. The research results will be made freely available to the world. Check IBM's website for details... "IBM's values state that we are committed to providing innovation that matters for our company and for the world. There is no better way for us to live those values than to join the World Computing Grid," said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of IB
  • Asking a group of Slashdot users to run a windows program is as absurd as asking a Linux user to run Bonzi Buddy.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday December 31, 2004 @03:30AM (#11226032) Homepage
    This might sound like a stupid question, but I've had my World Community Grid client running since the first time /. covered the subject. But I'm not part of some /. group of WCG users as far as I know... I'm just another individual client app. How is this /. group identified and grouped by the WCG?

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin