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mmciastro
Journeyman III

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

Hi,

Lately, AMD has been taking it on the chin from Intel processors. There has always been an AMD vs Intel rivalry. Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ started in 2004. It's middleware for Projects(generally university run) which wish to access large amounts of computer horsepower for what are generally scientific endeavors. Some of these projects(of which there are about 50) include Rosetta@home, Einstein@home, Seti@home, etc. In short it's distributed computing. Anyway some of the applications run by these projects can be open source as is the case with Seti@home (http://setiathome.berkeley.edu). There are currently 249,633 active boinc users, with 425,462 computers attached (according to BoincStats http://www.boincstats.com ).

At Seti@home they have a message board filled with computer enthusiasts of various skill sets. A few have taken it upon themselves to "optimize" the Setiathome application to run faster. However, they are all using ICC and IPP. This greatly decreases the Intel users processing times(increased performance), and thanks to the ICC's CPUID checks, greatly limits any improvements for AMD users. (I.E Intel gets to use SSE3, SSSE3 and those processors are compared to results from the AMD users who can't use SSE, SSE2, SSE3, etc). Basically, it makes AMD look bad when compared to the offerings of Intel, and yes, there's even some Barcelona's being used now. Even the Barcelonas' performance looks bad (even bad when directly compared to my K8 processors). Many purchase decisions are made by the recommendations of higher level users who are firmly convinced that the Intel processor is a much better choice.

I'm of the opinion that it only looks that way, because noone has written an application specifically compiled to work to the advantages of AMD. I'd like to see AMD shine for what it really is, and show them what it can do. Perhaps even boost, rather than hinder AMD sales to the 100K+ Boinc participants.

This brings me to the reason for this post. I have no programming skills, but am so fed up with their bleating, that I'm on a quest for a solution. I've gone to the PGI and other compiler websites, done some research, and decided that I'm not the person to buy a compiler program, learn what it is, and how to use it. I'm not even sure I could get enough comrades around to pitch in on the purchase price to get one license. There is one optimizer(Simon) who's using the ICC and runs a website for the distribution of it's binaries at http://lunatics.at/index.php, who might be interested or helpful to anyone who could use a different compiler to attempt to give AMD users the edge(and improve AMD's standing).

I'm looking for solutions, any solutions to this inequality. I've thought of trying to find compilers who might be interested, Buyiing a compiler (which one I do not know) and taking a crash course on compiling, searching out someone who might do it for a small stipend, heck, anything anyone can think of would be helpful.

What skills does it take to compile? Could someone learn it within the "free trial period" to see if it's even worthwhile spending the cash for a licensed version that would allow distribution of a GPL licensed binary?

thanks for your time

tony

P.S Another good reason for AMD to get involved is to help provide balance to the bleatings of an Intel Senior Performance Analyst http://www.legitreviews.com/article/521/1/ which goes by the username "who?" and is bad mouthing AMD every time he posts. Supposedly his name is Francois Piednoel. NOTE: he posts disclaimers that he alone is responsible for his posts, and Intel is not encouraging/supporting his actions during his off times. I don't want to get him in trouble.

P.S.S the following thread shows the first instance of Barcelona, and the posts by Who? (Intel Senior Performance Analyst, Francois Piednoel) are typical. http://setiathome.berkeley.edu...um_thread.php?id=42273 I hope someone can help for the sake of AMD.
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5 Replies
mmciastro
Journeyman III

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

I'd be willing to to anything within my ability to help anyone willing to try anything. I can provide links to standard and optimized sources. Cut through the clutter and introduce you to people who know what the app does/doesn't do. Help find a place to host the binaries and source codes. I mean anything. I can get you intouch with project administrators at UC Berkeley, or/and the optimizers using ICC themselves. Need benchmark tools to compare your app with official apps? I can help Need help getting Boinc setup and attached to the project, I'm there. I have an AMD64 2800 clawhammer, Mobile AMD64 3700, AMD64 3700 Sandiego, AMD64 X2 4800, AMD64 X2 5200, and an AMD64 X2 6000 for use in testing anything.
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marc_miller
Staff
Staff

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

As a BOINC fan myself, I've made several attempts to reach the BOINC developers in an effort to get some AMD-optimized code into their tree, even before we launched AMD Opteron. We just haven't been able to reach the right people within the BOINC project to make things happen. Can you suggest an appropriate contact point?

As for compilers, both PGI (http://developer.amd.com/pgi.jsp) and GCC (http://developer.amd.com/gcc.jsp) have outstanding performance on Barcelona chips. I'm sure either would do a great job with optimizing the BOINC project for our newest processors.
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mmciastro
Journeyman III

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

I've sent you a PM. Some of the info in it might be considered confidential, or atleast not appreciated if I posted it here.

Thanks for your time.

tony

OH, yeah If you'd like an introduction to any of the individuals listed. I will do that, but I'd have to let them know who (what name) to look out for.
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mmciastro
Journeyman III

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

Hi, Mr. Miller gave me his email addy. I sent him an email on 26 sept. Haven't heard back and fear a spam filter stopped my email. He has my email addy in the first PM I sent him.

Could a mod let him know?

thanks
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diddly
Journeyman III

Boinc (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

On another topic do with ATI falling behind, NVIDIA have worked with setiathome/BOINC to develop a cuda based client.  So now work units can be completed using NVIDIA GPUs.  ATI need to get their act together (please) and develop one for ATI GPUs. 

This would provide much bigger performance gains over any CPU based optimisations.

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