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Message boards : GPUGRID CAFE : GPU knowledge / Work experience / Volunteer background / BOINC journey

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bozz4science
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Message 55397 - Posted: 30 Sep 2020 | 21:12:59 UTC
Last modified: 30 Sep 2020 | 21:15:02 UTC

Risking to be off topic asking this question in the ongoing Ampere thread, I decided to get this thread started. I don't know whether and/or how much anyone is willing to share but following the forum here, particularly the technically oriented threads, I just can't help but wonder how the hell everyone seems to have an incredible breadth of knowledge about anything remotely connected to GPU and hardware in general. Is it due to personal interests in hardware because you consider yourself a PC enthusiast, educational and/or professional background, or mainly through your intensive collaboration on BOINC and investing time and money to upgrade machines and understand the latest tech.

I don't know but to me it feels like everyone is either working in tech in general or as a software engineer. I for myself want to follow up on most the technical stuff cause it really sparks my interest but honestly am a bit overwhelmed by "DC volunteers" suggesting (in some cases it seems it is rather telling :) ) the projects' scientists how to write and improve their code.

Just curious I guess.... Would love to read about your DC/BOINC journey, how you got into it, and how it comes that you all seem to be software engineers yourself :)

Aurum
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Message 55407 - Posted: 1 Oct 2020 | 12:16:22 UTC

Circa 2000 I was working as a grad student in a virology lab. I needed to modify the shape of a protein and found David Baker's lab had a service where we could submit our amino acid sequence and they'd fold it and email you the coordinates. Make changes and resubmit to get back to the end of the line. Slow, took months to make any progress but it was the only available source. Then it evolved into Rosetta@home but the submission service was dropped. I've been BOINCing ever since.
As for the IT computer science stuff I try to read as much as possible and take notes. I consider myself a hardware guy.

Ian&Steve C.
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Message 55408 - Posted: 1 Oct 2020 | 13:25:12 UTC - in response to Message 55397.

I'm an engineer with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and currently working with NASA. Engineers like to solve problems, and me personally I think you should fully understand the problem to come up with a good solution so I always do as much research as I can, dig into any available documentation, research other topics around the web, and actual testing where possible.

I'm not a software engineer or developer by trade, but I've learned a good baseline for coding on my own time as a hobby, and a little bit at work. I also learned a lot about how BOINC works by learning how to compile the client, manager, and various science applications for SETI. that's just the compiling though, writing the source code is a whole different story and well beyond my current skill set.

And for the people who spend a lot of money on the hardware for DC/BOINC, I think it's natural to want to extract as much performance out of it as possible. Making sure the applications are well optimized is part of that.
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Keith Myers
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Message 55409 - Posted: 1 Oct 2020 | 16:32:14 UTC

I'm a retired, jack of all trades, master of none electronics background guy. Started with Seti back in 2001. Been building computers since the Intel 8080.
I like reading up on all the new developments in hardware and software, but don't profess to understand all of it.

Like Ian, I have learned to compile source code when needed. I can't write code but I can generally get the gist of what the code is doing when reading the sources.

I like building computers to get the most out of the hardware. I am a mild overclocker in principle, get the most out of the hardware and still be rock stable.

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Message 55413 - Posted: 2 Oct 2020 | 22:19:01 UTC

Nice stories, Thank you all for sharing.

I was born on the canarian island of Tenerife in 1964.
As long as my memory reaches, I remember me disassembling my toys to investigate what they were made of.
In a later stage, I started reassembling them after disassembling.
In a later stage, I got them to work as before this disassembling/reassembling process...
This is what i call to be "a native hardware enthusiast" ;-)
By this process, I self learnt before aging 10 many interesting abilities: How much you can tighten a screw before it is too late, how can you check wether a battery is charged with the tip of your tongue, how capacitors in valve radios can retain enough charge to make you bounce in your chair...

I'll jump many intermediate stages for going quicker: Later, I became very keen on electronics. I studied Technical Engineering in Telecommunications, finished on 1986, and since then I'm working as Field Service Engineer, mainly for laboratory equipments.
In the beginning, laboratory equipments were based on analogue electronics, then started working with their own microprocessor and embedded firmware, and currently many of them are controlled by or attached to a computer.
This lead me to acquire skills in maintaining computers, then assembling my own ones as a practice.

I heard about BOINC on 2010, and I found it to be a very suitable way to collaborate with Science.
I attached my first BOINC client, then several others, and this closes the loop to this point.

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Message 55414 - Posted: 3 Oct 2020 | 1:36:36 UTC
Last modified: 3 Oct 2020 | 1:39:52 UTC

My career in electronics started around age 7 when I stuck a bent paperclip into a wall socket and promptly watched it turn cherry red and brand a U-shaped burn into my thumb and forefinger. Ha ha LOL.

Was fascinated with all things electrical from then on. Built my first crystal radio after that and started disassembling everything with a plug after that to see how it worked.

Have worked with everything from "DC to light" from then on.

[Edit] Ahh, another Field Service Engineer comrade. Worked in Medical Electronics for most of my life. Primarily a Linear Accelerator Engineer.

bozz4science
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Message 55422 - Posted: 4 Oct 2020 | 16:35:38 UTC
Last modified: 4 Oct 2020 | 16:36:08 UTC

Awesome! So great to hear all those stories and get a little bit of context.

Now after getting to know you all a little bit better, just a few words to my person. I am a mid-20 student, currently as a graduate student in economics/computer science. Computer science is just as a minor and mostly high level stuff, but that didn’t hinder me to always pick the more demanding classes that sparked my interest.

As I started to become a bit more advanced in the studies and started to use my 5 year old laptop for stuff beyond browsing and writing lecture notes like writing small programs, my laptop usually annoyed my fellow students as its fan began blowing like it were to take off from the library desk :) As I investigated, I came to the conclusion that it was probably just dust and dried up thermal paste. The first time I opened such an expensive device, I was horrified. But rather than being intimidated, it just felt good to tackle this problem successfully all by myself - even if it was just that. From there on, without always knowing what I was doing, I revived some old laptops that were deemed dead, loved tearing it all apart and replacing parts even if it meant improvising and generally enjoyed the process. So far nothing has exploded as of yet :) This is also why I would love to start my first build as well soon.

Back in March I googled "How can I help to tackle the covid pandemic while staying at home“ and it was thanks to the extensive media coverage about F@H at this time that basically introduced me to the concept of distributed computing. I genuinely love the idea that stands behind it and wish I would have found about this sooner. So nothing special here, just a bit of background to understand where all those recent questions I posted around here were coming from! Thanks again guys for all your knowledge that you shared so far with me throughout the forum!

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Message boards : GPUGRID CAFE : GPU knowledge / Work experience / Volunteer background / BOINC journey