Why not use smaller packets? Was: RE: [RC5] client versions - AIX

Jack Beglinger jackb at guppy.us
Wed Oct 2 23:46:52 EDT 2002

> You may be disappointed with RC5-72.  Based on the success of the longer
> workunits in the OGR projects, we are scaling the RC5-72 workunits to a
> larger size.  It is very possible that you may get RC5-72 workunits that
> take much longer than they did with RC5-64.

Great - DNET use larger blocks!! But why have the personal proxy have to 
hand the larger ones too?  There is no need, if you make it a super "client".

> Changing the minimum from 2^28 to 2^32 means that the smallest workunit
> under RC5-72 will take 16 times longer to process than the smallest
> workunit for RC5-64.  A slow machine that used to do a 2^28 in two hours
> will now take 32 hours to finish a workunit for RC5-72.  This workunit
> would also earn 16 times as much stats credit, just as if it had done 16
> workunits of 2^28.

You are great with math... but lets see - you will give us create at the 2^28 
reference point but refuse to give out the block in smaller than 2^32....  It 
seams you are wasting a lot of processing space and time for work you will 
not be supporting....  Not a good use of resources, unless you are willing to 
allow for sub sections to be processed in units that match the 2^28 size.

> A workunit of 2^36 would take 256 times longer, and 2^40 (if we offer
> them) would take 4096 times longer.  With proper checkpointing in place,
> this is no problem.  I plan on using the largest workunit available as

Check pointing IS sub blocks.  YOu are already setup the clients to handle 
smaller work points -- use the similar or even same logic in both client and 
personal proxy to handle smaller units.

Oh, you are worried that smaller unit will come back to DNET.  If you read 
my first note... the personal is responsible to return only whole completed 
blocks.  If a part is missing... it would get a client to reprocess it and get the 
block back.  Just like a client that is working on a block and gets stop... the 
check point is used to help it get back on track and return a completed block.

> The fullproxies do receive larger "superblocks".  I'm not sure of the
> size, but they are significantly larger.  Perproxies don't receive
> superblocks because (a) superblocks are only available directly from the
> keymaster, and (b) there is too much potential for abuse. 

You have the same abuse now.  The way you filter is watch for high return 
rates, and check out what is happening.  The same would go for this, it is no 

> The problem is, the smaller we allow the workunit to be subdivided, the
> more details we need to track at the keymaster.  It's not a safe
> assumption that work handed out by a perproxy will be returned to the
> same proxy to be recombined.  Even if they do come back to the same
> place, there could be enough of a delay to increase the storage
> requirement of the proxy, and to delay credit to those who turned it in
> first.  If I do half of a workunit, and the other half gets deleted from
> someone's buff-in, I might never get credit at all!

No it is not a problem, unless you make it into one.  Subdividing work units 
into a useable size for a local network and having the be processed by many 
small "hands" and assembled and return to the key server in the sky... The 
key server would be no wiser.  It gave out a block and returned a block - why 
would it care which branch of a multiple threaded processor is working on the 
packet.  The question is... is it done right.

> It's impractical to use smaller units at the clients than we track at
> the keymaster.  If a perproxy splits a 2^32 16 ways to 16 different
> clients, then who gets stats credit for the finished 2^32?

Again the keymaster would not be handling the small packets - that is the 
personal proxy.  

And to answer your question...  Allow the proxy to either one:

1) Be configured return the user, machine type, os type (including mixed & 
mixed)  - this way the personal proxy for small packets would be the "client" 
to DNET.  Also the only way to configure a small packet client is to have a 
personal proxy.

2) Allow the proxy to return two types if information with a key packet....
The packet completion and the stats break down so multiple machines or 
users or ... will be preprocessed ready to add to the stats boxs.  With that 
added in would make it easier for teams to keep their own stats... because 
the personal proxies is giving them out.

> In the final calculation, it takes just as long to do a single 2^32 as
> it does to do 16 2^28's, and the stats credits are the same, so why make
> a big deal of it?  Most distributed projects give you no control
> whatsoever of the size workunit you want.  We've considered this option
> too, specifically because it makes discussions like this moot.

You are right the time to process a 2^32 is the same as processing 16 2^28, 
  1) processing in parallel so the "machine" appears to crunch that 2^32 16 
times faster.
  2) I am not wasting time for the CPU to control an IDE drive while check 
  3) I am using less power and creating less heat by not having excess 
circuitry running.
> The clients already take responsibility for picking their own randoms.
> It doesn't make sense to shift this to the perproxies, because the
> client still needs to generate randoms if it can't reach the perproxy.

That is right that is a backup...  the client generates it own random number.  
Which I have found when I had a cable break 3 days... they are not that 
random for a client or for the network of machines.  

If the break is outside of firewall/personal proxy.  Allow the proxy to makeup 
random BIG BLOCKS and hand out smaller work units... again... the 
Keymaster in the sky will get only large blocks  -- maybe even every large 
random blocks.  The clients are not trying to guess a random block and 
having overlap because the number of machine processing random blocks 
are the same time ( and in the a very small sub space)

> Each workunit returned must be ticked off as "completed" in the
> keymaster.  It doesn't make sense to have the proxies send back a
> summary when we still need all the detail.  We have also implemented
> mechanisms in the past where work from certain client versions are
> discarded at the master.  If a proxy combines work from 10 computers
> using the same ID but different versions and platforms, we lose the
> ability to filter out the noise.  This also makes the perproxies much
> more complicated, which makes the code much harder to modify and
> maintain.

Try looking from my side -- it does not make since to have the keyservers 
and stats server working all the time on small things (even 2^32 is a small 
thing!).  Why not find away to have the DISTRIBUTED.NET "super" machine 
distribute more of the work so like maybe... Real Time stats could come to 

To filter out the "noise" close the projects to client types - like you close 
projects.  This why you can disable bad clients or proxies and get the load 
off servers but preventing the connections.  

To solve the version issue... only allow a block being handled by a personal 
proxy to be worked on by a single version of the client, maybe even os and 
cpu... but I do not see that level of need.  Have one of the stats of the 
personal proxy showing the number of different blocks it is having to support, 
so the user would get the versions n'sync.
> We like the proxies as waypoints, merely passing work from here to there
> without knowing much about what is inside each workunit.  This makes it
> easier for our network to support new projects without a lot of changes.

The proxies can also be viewed as clients without a crunchers.   And clients 
can be viewed as proxies with crunchers.  You have people who have 
multiple clients sharing a common buffers.  Even the SMP machines run one 
client per processor.   Some work and all could be one.  So on a SMP 
machine one becomes the master and others check work in/out with it.

Please step out of the box and look around, there are more than one way to 
see the issues.  

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