Welcome to MilkyWay@home

What is MilkyWay@home?

Milkyway@Home uses the BOINC platform to harness volunteered computing resources, creating a highly accurate three dimensional model of the Milky Way galaxy using data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This project enables research in both astroinformatics and computer science.

In computer science, the project is investigating different optimization methods which are resilient to the fault-prone, heterogeneous and asynchronous nature of Internet computing; such as evolutionary and genetic algorithms, as well as asynchronous newton methods. While in astroinformatics, Milkyway@Home is generating highly accurate three dimensional models of the Sagittarius stream, which provides knowledge about how the Milky Way galaxy was formed and how tidal tails are created when galaxies merge.

Milkyway@Home is a joint effort between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's departments of Computer Science and Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy. Feel free to contact us via our forums, or email astro[at]cs.lists.rpi[dot]edu.

Read more on our Science Page, or check out our YouTube Channel!

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Social Media

People

Milkyway@Home is currently run by:
  • Travis Desell, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, University of North Dakota
  • Heidi Newberg, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Malik Magdon-Ismail, Professor of Computer Science
  • Carlos Varela, Associate Professor of Computer Science
  • Boleslaw Szymanski, Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Computer Science
  • Jake Weiss, Postdoctoral Researcher in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Eric Mendelsohn, Graduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Blurf, Volunteer Forum Moderator
With Ongoing Support from:
  • Siddhartha Shelton, PhD Physics
  • Matthew Newby, Adjunct Faculty in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Jeffery Thompson, Graduate Research Assistant in Physics, Apllied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Matt Arsenault, Graduate Research Assistant in Physics
With previous support from:
  • Benjamin Willet, Postdoctoral Researcher in Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy
  • Nathan Cole, Graduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy
  • Maia Marchetti, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Adam Susser, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Jake Bauer, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
  • Steve Ulins, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics
  • Colin Rice, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics
  • Shane Reilly, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Computer Science
  • Joe Doran, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Computer Science
  • Brian Chitester, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Computer Science
  • Dave Przybylo, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Computer Science
  • John Vickers, Undergraduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy
  • Anthony Waters, Graduate Research Assistant in Computer Science
  • Clayton Rayment, Graduate Research Assistant in Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy

Funding

Funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Milkway@home is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendtions expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Individual grants are listed on the information page.

User of the Day

User profile ProfileRuaridh McNair10 thousand credit badge7 year member badge
I am from Calgary, Canada. I enjoy learning about computers and space.

News

New Expanded Runs for Milkyway_nbody (08/06/2019)
Hello all,

I've just placed two new runs up onto MilkyWay@home:
-de_nbody_08_06_2019_v176_40k__dataExpand__1
-de_nbody_08_06_2019_v176_40k__dataExpand__2

These runs are going to search over a larger phase space, however, due to the technological limitations of simulating incredibly dense dwarf galaxies, a significant portion of this phase space will be skipped. This limitation has been placed in previous runs using the current version of Milkyway_nbody, however, the larger phase space will make this more apparent. We set up our lua file such that runs with abnormally long runtimes will only take a few seconds to complete and return the worst case likelihood score. As credits are calculated dynamically for Nbody, it may take a few runs for Milkyway@home to assign the proper amount of credits. We plan on adding another expanded data run once de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__7 converges.

Thank you for your support,

Eric
6 Aug 2019, 15:32:22 UTC · Discuss


New Separation Testing Runs
Hi Everyone,

Looking at all of the previous runs (including those from previous projects), there are patterns of interesting and unexpected behavior from the optimization results. In order to better understand these results, I have planned a series of extensive testing runs. These tests will allow us to learn how the optimization routine's responds to specific circumstances and inputs. I will make a comment attached to this post describing the tests & reasons for the tests in greater detail if anyone is interested.

EVERYTHING IS WORKING AS INTENDED. These results are not entirely understood, not incorrect. I don't expect to invalidate any results from this project, but I do plan on actually producing more, better results as I learn why the optimizer outputs what it does.

I am rolling out the first 2 series of tests, and have released the runs on the server.

The names of these runs are:
de_modfit_14_bundle5_testing_4s3f_1
de_modfit_14_bundle5_testing_4s3f_2
de_modfit_14_bundle5_testing_4s3f_3
de_modfit_14_bundle4_testing_3s4f_1
de_modfit_14_bundle4_testing_3s4f_2
de_modfit_14_bundle4_testing_3s4f_3


Please let me know if you experience any problems with these runs. Thank you all for your help with this project!

Best,
Tom
29 Jul 2019, 19:21:48 UTC · Discuss


New Separation Runs [UPDATE]
Hi Everyone,

I just put some new Separation runs up on the server and took down the old ones. You may still see new workunits from old runs in your queues for a few days as those runs finish validating.

The names of the new runs are:
de_modfit_80_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_81_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_82_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_83_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_84_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_85_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset
de_modfit_86_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset


An error processing a flag in the parameter files has been fixed and updated runs have been released. These runs are confirmed to be returning results as of 10 PM on 7/24. I apologize for the inconvenience.

The names of the new runs are:
de_modfit_80_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_81_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_82_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_83_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_84_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_85_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2
de_modfit_86_bundle4_4s_south4s_bgset_2


As these runs optimize we may see increased invalidated returns with the stripe 84 and 85 runs. This is a known issue that I believe has something to do with a data cut made in those stripes. If/when this starts happening and the stripes are sufficiently optimized, I will take them down so you all don't have to worry about crunching invalidated WUs.

If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please feel free to post them here. Thanks for all your support!

Best,
Tom
24 Jul 2019, 20:00:02 UTC · Discuss


Nbody Data Run 4 Replaced
Hey all,

Something happened with de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__4 that caused it to end prematurely. As such a new run has been implemented to replace it, titled de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__7.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

-Eric
23 Jul 2019, 15:46:35 UTC · Discuss


More Nbody Runs on MilkyWay@home
Hey all,

I've put up some more nbody runs for MilkyWay@home. Here are the names of the new runs:
-de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__4
-de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__5
-de_nbody_07_10_2019_v176_40k__data__6
If you find any problems with these runs, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you all for your continued support!

-Eric
10 Jul 2019, 19:04:22 UTC · Discuss


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