Welcome to MilkyWay@home

Posts by Matthew

1) Message boards : Number crunching : What is the cause of these 'validate errors' (Message 63219)
Posted 12 Mar 2015 by Matthew
Hey guys - any chance you can post the log output on the errored units? Or link us to one of these results? We need something to go on...

One of the advantages of the forums is that posts can get community support. Since we do not have access to every possible hardware configuration, this is usually the way to go. If you have an issue that you think needs to be addressed directly by the team, you should send it to our email address, which is displayed in various places: astro[at]cs.lists.rpi[dot]edu
2) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 61327)
Posted 4 Mar 2014 by Matthew
A question more relevent for 2016 but will you be adding badge pairs for extened years of service after platinum?

(bronze),(silver),(gold),(platinum),(rarer metal),(unobtainium)

or adjusting the service ranges for (bronze),(silver),(gold),(platinum) in the future?

We'll add more as the need arises - we'll get clever. :)
3) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 61326)
Posted 4 Mar 2014 by Matthew
Special contribution badges for donors are now live! Sorry for the delay :P
4) Message boards : News : incoming badges (Message 60985)
Posted 5 Feb 2014 by Matthew
I managed to forget to add the intermediate badges to the pack I gave Travis; I have added them to the server now. :)
5) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60981)
Posted 5 Feb 2014 by Matthew
I somehow managed to forget to add the additional badges when I sent them to Travis. I've added them now, and they look like they're working!
6) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60794)
Posted 22 Jan 2014 by Matthew
Travis has to tweak the server for the badges to go live, and he's been out with an illness. He's hoping to get them live within a week.
7) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60693)
Posted 6 Jan 2014 by Matthew
I just returned from my holiday vacation, so I'll be getting on this again.
8) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60627)
Posted 19 Dec 2013 by Matthew
I've added badges for intermediate levels (see updated image, above), so that the general pattern is:

1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 5 -> 10

Travis should provide an ETA for implementation soon.

I know - this would be hard to measure rectroactively :-(

That's the hard part of every time badge scheme that we've come up with. By requiring RAC > 0.0 for the badge to display, then anyone who is crunching something will get the badge. Someone could have created an account 4 years ago and not crunched anything, but then crunch one WU and get the 4yr badge - but it will disappear if their RAC drops to 0. If they crunch another WU a year later, the 5yr badge will show up. It's not perfect, but loyal crunchers tend to maintain a non-zero RAC anyway, and keeping the badge "active" might serve as an incentive for occasional users to crunch a MW WU every now and then...

We're looking into other ways to make it work, but we need to dig around the database a bit and see what data we have available.
9) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60609)
Posted 16 Dec 2013 by Matthew
Thanks for the feedback!

- I updated the image so that it properly reads "50M"

- I'll look into adding smaller incremental badges at "lower" levels - such as 2M, 3M, 20M, etc. badges. It does make sense to have them.

- I would like the time badges be valid only if the account has been actively crunching for that long, but this is a tricky thing to measure. If we are too lax, there will be ways to "game" the system, and if we are too strict, some deserving users may be cut out. I'm thinking that the time badges should only display if a user's current RAC > 0?

- I'll move the 1 credit badge up to 100 credits; that should be 1-2 WUs. I'm ok with "fake accounts" having the badge as long as they've done something towards the project.

- All badges will be retroactive.
10) Message boards : News : Milkyway@Home for iPhone / iOS released (Message 60570)
Posted 13 Dec 2013 by Matthew
It's an older piece of software that Matt Arsenault built for fun - I'm pretty sure we haven't been keeping it up to date.

If anyone has it working, let us know, but it was my assumption that we aren't supporting it.
11) Message boards : News : Award Badges Going Live Soon! (Message 60567)
Posted 13 Dec 2013 by Matthew
Hello Crunchers! We've been throwing around the idea of creating profile badges here at MilkyWay@home for a while now, but we seem to always have a more mission-critical problem to solve (coding, science, etc.) - until now! In the image below, you will find all of the badges that we will be rolling out in the next few days!

As a user, you can expect to have between 0 and 4 badges on your MW profile:

  • "Joined MilkyWay@home": This badge is awarded to everyone who crunches at least one work unit for our project, as a Thank You for helping out!
  • "Credits Earned": This badge represents the latest credit milestone that a user has passed, ranging from 10,000 (10k) to 10 billion (10B).
  • "Years of Service": This badge displays the number of years that a user has been with MilkyWay@home! (The first of these badges is acquired after one full year)
  • "Special Contribution": This badge goes to anyone who has donated hardware, money, significant expertise, or service towards the project.

Coincidentally, we've just updated our donation page to work with the existing system here at RPI :

(You can also find the donation link on the MilkyWay@home homepage)

(Please note that once the badges go live, it will take us a bit to get the special contribution badges organized - please bear with us.)

I will be building a webpage that describes these badges. Originally, I wanted to do a "Cosmic distance milestones" badge system, but I didn't have enough space to work with - So I'll put those milestones on the description page instead!

We hope that you'll enjoy the badges!

Matthew N.

(P.S.: MilkyWay@home HD wallpapers coming soon!)

[Edit: Updated image so the green 5-star badge reads "50M" instead of "50k"]
[Edit: Updated image to include more intermediate rewards]

12) Message boards : MilkyWay@home Science : Distance unit nomenclature (Message 60439)
Posted 20 Nov 2013 by Matthew
These are in use because they are "natural" distance scales in astronomy.

An AU (astronomical unit) is the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun, which is a very useful length for comparing distances within the Solar system (or within others!), not to mention very relevant for research that involves the Earth's motion.

A light year is the distance that light travels in a year. Since light travel time is exactly the time lag in a signal (such as an astronomical observation), it makes sense to use "light-years" - If a thing is 10 light-years away, we are seeing it as it was 10 years ago.

A parsec is a little more than 3 light-years, and is derived from the the term "parallax-second", or an apparent motion of a star of one second of arc (1/3600th of a degree) over the course of an Earth-year. While the parsec has technically been superseded by the light-year in many ways, it does seem to be a more natural distance with in the Galaxy; the nearest star is 4.2 light-years away, but only 1.3 parsecs. Galactic astronomers (such as MilkyWay@home researchers) traditionally use "kiloparsecs" (thousands of parsecs) as their chosen distance scale.

With any unit, there is a trade-off between mathematical simplicity and human relevance. A mile was originally defined as a thousand paces, with a pace being ~5.28 feet, or the distance an average human covers in two steps. A pace is also close to the average height of a human. Personally, I don't feel like walking a kilometer is a very far distance, but a mile feels significant. I kind of wish that we were using paces and miles instead of meters and kilometers...
13) Message boards : MilkyWay@home Science : Goal (Message 60438)
Posted 20 Nov 2013 by Matthew
You may have noticed that the last post before yours was dated to 2008; this thread has been dead for 5 years now. :)

I'd like to answer your questions in the near future, most likely I will add them to the Science Page; I'll let you know!
14) Message boards : MilkyWay@home Science : What am I actually doing? (Message 60437)
Posted 20 Nov 2013 by Matthew
- Does each new volunteer take a sheet of paper OUT of that basket - or do we just add to the pile?

Every user that signs up is helping with work that needs to get done - so every user makes things better!

... but I think you need an assistant, or 2... or 2 million.

Haha, yes, I could use a few dozen assistants :). Jeff Thompson and Jake Weiss have been doing a great job, though, and Jake Bauer has been improving the N-body test application every week.

The real draw on my time right now is teaching classes, searching for jobs (I received my PhD last Summer), wrapping up some in-house projects, behind-the-scenes administrative work, keeping MW running, public outreach stuff, getting the research I need done finished on MW, creating badges for MW, and eventually finishing the computer science part of the science page. Oh, and trying to stay sane ;).

- I think it's fascinating and I thank you and your team for your efforts. Wish I could do more.

Any help you can provide is great! We hope to have our donor page up and running again sometime soon, and I would like to start a "Cafepress"-style store for MilkyWay@home t-shirts and stuff. We're working hard to make this project even cooler than it is. :)
15) Message boards : News : New Separation Runs (Message 60436)
Posted 19 Nov 2013 by Matthew
My HD7870 cards are not running nearly as well as a month ago. I see % utilization on the cards consistently dropping below 100%. Something in the main work algorithm is quite off. They also do not allow the cards to run in overdrive like Seti does.

This would be a better question for the "Number Crunching" forum.
16) Message boards : News : New Separation Runs (Message 60435)
Posted 19 Nov 2013 by Matthew

Error loading Lua script 'astronomy_parameters.txt': [string "number_parameters: 4..."]:1: '<name>' expected near '4' 
Error reading astronomy parameters from file 'astronomy_parameters.txt'
  Trying old parameters file

This is a common error when the client-side application is out of date. Make sure that you are on the latest version.

"C:\Users\Kyle\AppData\Local\Temp\OCL67E6.tmp.cl", line 232: error: identifier
          "BACKGROUND_PROFILE" is undefined

1 error detected in the compilation of "C:\Users\Kyle\AppData\Local\Temp\OCL67E6.tmp.cl".

Frontend phase failed compilation.

This looks like a compiler error - are you building a custom app?
17) Message boards : News : New Separation Runs (Message 60314)
Posted 5 Nov 2013 by Matthew
I've started three new separation runs:


The first two are old runs, but the search method parameters have been modified to try and reach a faster convergence. The 3rd run is a new search for secondary structures in the Galactic North.

As always, let us know if you see any problems with these!

-Matthew N
18) Message boards : News : Badges for crunchers. (Message 60313)
Posted 5 Nov 2013 by Matthew
I haven't forgotten about this - things are just piling up here. Badges are steadily climbing my priority list!
19) Message boards : MilkyWay@home Science : NASA's SOFIA Observatory in Action! (Message 60205)
Posted 23 Oct 2013 by Matthew
Dr. Daniel Angerhausen, whose office is next door to the MilkyWay@home office, and who works for the New York Center for Astrobiology at RPI, recently went up in the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) observatory and made a time-lapse video of the mission:


His work is in searching for Exoplanets - or extra-solar planets, that is, planets that are in other solar systems.
20) Message boards : News : New Secondary Stream Searches (Message 60203)
Posted 23 Oct 2013 by Matthew
These jobs are showing an error rate of around 11%, which is normal. The majority of these errors come from misconfigured or deprecated clients, with a few errors coming from other sources.

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