"Is Distributed Computing being Distributed Badly?"

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Profile sslickerson

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Message 19419 - Posted: 28 Jun 2006, 15:36:01 UTC

Slashdot has an article about how SETI dominates the DC field and how this is "a big waste." The interesting part though is the comments; I've never seen so many people in the tech community come down so hard on BOINC projects...

Tim



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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 19426 - Posted: 28 Jun 2006, 16:58:20 UTC

Thanks, it was a very interesting discussion (I 'll take some time later today to read it all).

Apparently, many people are negative about health / life sciences projects, as they think they're donating to enrich BigPharma. This attitude is very common.

Also, for the majority of people, after some point it's all about points, as apparently the science is over their heads. In that regard, I think Rosetta is probably unique, in that one can easily understand what one's PC is doing.

Also some projects exaggerate relevance to cures, to attract more crunchers, which I find a bit dishonest.

IMO, SETI isn't a "waste". But it proved to be so popular, that they had to crunch every WU multiple times and I consider THAT to be a waste. They've created a truly wonderful thing, with BOINC and with encouraging their huge audience to join other projects.
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Message 19427 - Posted: 28 Jun 2006, 17:10:57 UTC - in response to Message 19426.  

Apparently, many people are negative about health / life sciences projects, as they think they're donating to enrich BigPharma. This attitude is very common.


Yes, that's why I found it interesting as well. Rosetta could probably pick up many more users if that myth was dispelled.

Health and life science projects are THE projects of the future because they do have a direct impact on our biological lives.

At some point I would like to say "Want to live forever? then support Rosetta@home" or insert other health science project here :)

Tim





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Message 19448 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 2:53:12 UTC

I am floored at the apathy towards these real health projects as well. When I bring it up to people I get blank stares ... or remarks about how they would never loan their machine to anyone -- security issues. I am as anal retentive as the next person when it comes to security in general ... but they just don't get it. If the trust were violated it would become known over time and then they would lose all that free computing power ...
I keep thinking ... just wait until they or someone they love gets cancer ... but then even my step-father ... God bless him ... a cancer survivor, wouldn't let me put the united devices program on his machine and it was doing cancer research. My step-father eventually did die of cancer. I am at loss to understand. I guess some require more time to think it over.
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Message 19450 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 5:04:21 UTC

Yes S@H has many more users than it needs to get its 3WU validations. Not to blame the project, S@H has become more of a "Credit Marathon" than actual science since that's what many S@H users seem to be in it for. (Bragging Rights)

It would be great if R@H could peal off just 20% of the un-needed S@H users to R@H. I agree that the "Big Pharma Conspiracy" thing is rather pervasive on S@H boards.

However, these conspiracy users need to beware if they find ET, then the government might superceed the project and sieze the project drives. "UFO Coverup Continues".

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Message 19459 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 8:04:22 UTC
Last modified: 29 Jun 2006, 8:52:24 UTC


"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." R.M. Nixon
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Message 19463 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 10:27:51 UTC

A bit like politicians who say "I don't know much about this subject, but my opinion is..."

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Message 19467 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 13:41:31 UTC

There was someone in the comment on ./ article that anonymously claimed that he worked in one of the following projects:
"http://folding.stanford.edu/about.html [stanford.edu]
https://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/rah_about.php [bakerlab.org]
http://boinc.bio.wzw.tum.de/boincsimap/project.php [wzw.tum.de]
http://predictor.scripps.edu/about_team.php [scripps.edu]
http://www.grid.org/projects/cancer/index.htm [grid.org]"
"I'm a guy who was once associated with one of labs/projects mentioned above. I was working on the problem for years, and have a great deal of expertise in the area. I can also tell you that the project is complete and utter crap, from a scientific perspective. The PI routinely misrepresents the project goals, claiming "possible" results that could never, ever come from the type of research performed. In general, the "science" is poorly-conceived and improperly controlled, and most of the "experiments" are methodologically flawed. I can't post my name here...it would be career suicide. As one of the authorities to whom you seem so desperate to appeal, let me assure you: if you are devoting your resources to this project, the world would be a better place if you simply turned your computer off."
Making the assumption (yes, it is a big assumption) that he is right, now I wonder which one he was talking about... I'm lousy at detective work (hopefully someone is better at it than me), but I can pick up a few things...
Years seem to indicate that the project has run for at least 3 or 4 years.
Using the phrase "PI" instead of many alternative terms could be a clue. Of the above links, I noticed that just Folding@Home used it.
However Folding@Home also has produced the most results, and seems to be well received as oppose to some of the other projects mentioned that has produced almost nothing. Of course the results could well have little to do with the main stated project goals (and much more with its secondary basic research goals), although some of the papers do seem promising (e.g. the lastest one is related to cancer). http://folding.stanford.edu/papers.html
R@H is likely too new for the "several years" comment.
The other 3 projects I know little about. I haven't seem much from them, so perhaps one of them might be the right one?

Of course as anonymous can't tell who wrote what, so perhaps this other comment is from the same person, or maybe not... (in response to the question Is "Human Proteome Folding" the same as Folding@Home, the one run by Stanford?)
"They are competitors. Or rather... "Human Proteome Folding" would like to compete, but haven't been able to. Just look at the amount of _hard_ results coming out of Folding@Home in the form of scientific papers and your choice is easy. The "Human Proteome Folding" project claims they are heading into "phase2", yet haven't published any real results public journals.
Yes, I'm in the field, but no, I'm not related to the Pande group, but I find their recent work _very_ impressive scientifically."
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Message 19471 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 15:44:21 UTC - in response to Message 19448.  

I am floored at the apathy towards these real health projects as well. When I bring it up to people I get blank stares ... or remarks about how they would never loan their machine to anyone -- security issues.


I think that's it in a nutshell right there. That's why Rosetta doesn't have more users. PC's are too sensitive to change. You install ANYTHING new and you are risking hours of recovery time to get everything working again. I think it's getting better. I mean increasingly rare that there are conflicts between applications that cause the need for these hours of dredgury. But many that have computers today... had them back when Windows 3.1 was a wonderful new thing. And every time we hear "install it on your PC" we have these flashbacks to calling help desks that took more time than they saved, and to wondering around through parts of your PC you never wanted to see to try and find the problem.

...and what's more, telling them that 50,000 OTHER people have it installed and running and are actively participating... doesn't seem to help. Everyone feels that installing software is like a lottery ticket... only in THIS lottery you're most assuredly going to be the "lucky" one.

It's Murphy's Law as applied to home computing.

[mount soapbox]
I suspect that these are the same people that complain about all the phone solicitors calling all the time... but actually BUY stuff from them too! I mean let's face it, we ALL hate them... if we could ALL just get together for a WEEK and NOT BUY ANYTHING from them... they'd STOP! Finshed! Outta business! Never calling again (list or not!). But we can't seem to get everyone together to do that either.

...yet they seem MORE then willing to ask everyone to band together and NOT buy gasoline on ONE day next week... and they think this will lower the gas prices. Meanwhile they floor the accelerator when the light turns green and get it up over the speed limit in a block so they can slam on their brakes for the next red light which was clearly visible from the first. And they complain about the corporate conspiracy to NOT make cars that get better mileage. And how the oil companies have the auto companies on their payroll. Hey look, if there really IS a carborator out there that makes a car get 100MPG... and you know about it... then SELL IT! Don't keep it to yourself! ...and if you really don't have any first-hand knowledge of such... then shut up.
[dismount soapbox]
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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 19480 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 18:05:31 UTC - in response to Message 19471.  

...yet they seem MORE then willing to ask everyone to band together and NOT buy gasoline on ONE day next week... and they think this will lower the gas prices. Meanwhile they floor the accelerator when the light turns green and get it up over the speed limit in a block so they can slam on their brakes for the next red light which was clearly visible from the first. And they complain about the corporate conspiracy to NOT make cars that get better mileage. And how the oil companies have the auto companies on their payroll. Hey look, if there really IS a carborator out there that makes a car get 100MPG... and you know about it... then SELL IT! Don't keep it to yourself! ...and if you really don't have any first-hand knowledge of such... then shut up.
[dismount soapbox]


Feet1st, mentioning oil, you've struck a nerve.

I'll never understand people, why they don't REVOLT against this kind of abuse. After bleeding financially for years and years. How can they possibly believe people who are lying to them in the most blatant and obvious way?

When you have even the oil producers themselves (who are benefitting from this) tell you bluntly that oil should be costing under $50 and yet your OWN COUNTRY'S (U.S.A) BROKEN, CORNERED MARKETS make it trade almost 50% higher at $73.5 (at all time high) just so the profiteers of the ruling elite can enjoy DECADES worth of profits in a few years?

e.g. yesterday from Reuters:

Saudi cut shows record oil defies market logic
Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:58am ET167

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil power Saudi Arabia has offered the most compelling proof yet that record high prices are divorced from the realities of supply and demand.
...
"There is absolutely no relationship between price and supply and demand," Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi noted. He told pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat in early June that crude oil was worth no more than $50 a barrel based on fundamentals.

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Message 19490 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 19:19:44 UTC

Yes Feet1st, I remember the Win 3.1 days just like I remember the Apple/Commodore VIC 20 days. I remember resisting WIN 3.1 for the very reasons you mentioned.

As far as change, Install stability and security: the fears I find are quite unfounded. Example: Last year I heard that spyware and popup writers found a way to break Mozilla Firefox. I'm still waiting for my first popup.

These rumors are pervasive and trying to convince someone that "That's Not True and I Can Prove It" is like trying to convince the Barber Shop Prophets that Billy Bob Didn't die in sugery after all.

Rumor has always held more power than truth and fact.
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Message 19500 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 20:29:45 UTC - in response to Message 19480.  
Last modified: 29 Jun 2006, 20:30:10 UTC

Feet1st, mentioning oil, you've struck a nerve.


Dimitris, I hope you didn't take my carberator reference personally. I didn't intend for it to be a reference to your thread in the cafe. Your analysis goes beyond the guy asserting that such a carberator exists and is being suppressed. I didn't mean to go off-topic. I think we should leave the oil discussion to the cafe.

Add this signature to your EMail:
Running Microsoft's "System Idle Process" will never help cure cancer, AIDS nor Alzheimer's. But running Rosetta@home just might!
https://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/
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Profile Dimitris Hatzopoulos

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Message 19502 - Posted: 29 Jun 2006, 20:56:17 UTC - in response to Message 19500.  
Last modified: 29 Jun 2006, 20:56:45 UTC

Feet1st, mentioning oil, you've struck a nerve.


Dimitris, I hope you didn't take my carberator reference personally. I didn't intend for it to be a reference to your thread in the cafe. Your analysis goes beyond the guy asserting that such a carberator exists and is being suppressed. I didn't mean to go off-topic. I think we should leave the oil discussion to the cafe.


Nono, ofcourse I didn't take it personally.

I guess oil going back to all-time (nominal) highs today made me a bit upset and I had to get it off my chest.
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Message 19520 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 0:27:51 UTC

I have read here in this thread, in the SlashDot article and in many other places that SETI is doomed to failure because it's not possible to detect "I Love Lucy" type broadcasts. This is probably true.

However, SETI is not searching for TV broadcasts. It is very likely that SETI can detect high-energy high-power military radar which, for most technologically advanced civilizations, there is no good substitute. Therefore most scientists agree that those signals should be present, at least for some period of time, and should be detectable.

Please stop quoting the "I Love Lucy" argument, it just proves you are either a fool or ignorant (and I mean uneducated) or both, or that you have a political agenda. I always know to disregard anything said by a person who uses this argument.

Having said all this, I don't mean this as a personal attack on any one person or group, it's just my observation and opinion.
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Message 19521 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 0:59:02 UTC

I don't think that anyone in this thread is trying to beat up on S@H. I think that the tone of this thread is a discussion on why BOINC projects including health sciences are getting a bad wrap. This hurts DC participation across the board including both SETI and ROSETTA.

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Message 19523 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 1:31:31 UTC

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Message 19526 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 2:29:44 UTC

That doesn't suprise me, comming from slashdot. I stopped reading that site four years ago because of the flame tone of the posts.

I think that they are being premature in their opinions of DC. To use SETI like that as the basis for bashing DC with no more research than they did is almost adolescent.

Not one single interview with any of the lead scientists running DC projects was conducted. I would like to ask Dr. Baker if he has been contacted by any of these reporters/commentators for his input.

Yes this report, commentary or whatever this was seems to be framed with a predetermined anti-DC mindset and doesn't qualify for objective reporting.

Slashdot runs the risk of alienating its own Linux DC volunteers.
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Message 19530 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 5:39:31 UTC

OK. I must APOLOGIZE to Slashdot. That was an opinion article from Gomez or whatever from "The Wallstreet Journal" using someone from (Suprise) "Glaxo-Smith Klein" (BIG PHARMA) calling Molecular modeling on computers a waist of time.

Hey that Blows the Big Pharma Cospiracy right there!

Once again APOLOGIES to Slashdot. Emotion puts foot in mouth.
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Message 19555 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 12:32:32 UTC - in response to Message 19467.  

Of course as anonymous can't tell who wrote what, so perhaps this other comment is from the same person, or maybe not... (in response to the question Is "Human Proteome Folding" the same as Folding@Home, the one run by Stanford?)
"They are competitors. Or rather... "Human Proteome Folding" would like to compete, but haven't been able to. Just look at the amount of _hard_ results coming out of Folding@Home in the form of scientific papers and your choice is easy. The "Human Proteome Folding" project claims they are heading into "phase2", yet haven't published any real results public journals.
Yes, I'm in the field, but no, I'm not related to the Pande group, but I find their recent work _very_ impressive scientifically."


It's not so hard to form your OWN opinion about the various projects and what exactly they do.

The best way would be to read the papers published from the various projects.

A lot of stuff posted in the slashdot is misinformation. Also, many people CONFUSE POPULARITY WITH SCIENTIFIC MERIT / VALUE (remember the phrase "millions of flies can't be wrong; eat sh*t").

As for project comparison in layman's language, IMHO the best info is in Differences between protein projects and also mine in dc-projects
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Message 19582 - Posted: 30 Jun 2006, 15:22:10 UTC

This could pertain to the AP article. I loved it when the guiy from GlaxoSmithKlein called molecular modeling a waist of time. He just single handedly blew the BIG PHARMA conspiracy out of the water.

But this guy in particular doesn't help either by calling such projects a waist of time

Quite fankly it's none of Slashdot's, WSJ's or GlaxoSmithKlein's business what I do with my machine.

It seems to me that Slashdot got caught in the middle by trying to follow up on the WSJ story objectively and not doing a very good job of it.

I have a feeling that Slashdot will be revisiting this real soon.

"Full of hot air and loaded with passive voice!"

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