staff blogs

distributed.net staff keep (relatively) up-to-date logs of their activities in .plan files. These were traditionally available via finger, but we've put them on the web for easier consumption.

2019/08/23

August 2019 update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , @ 02:44 +00:00

Dear friends,

Great news – the OGR-28 project has now been progressing for 2000 days and has brought 60,000 people from around the world together working towards a single goal. If you have recently joined us, welcome :)

The combined effort of our group using commodity computer equipment is producing the same amount of work that would be produced by a major supercomputer – such as the Cray XC40 model used in Texas Advanced Computer Center’s Lonestar 5. A single Cray XC40 cabinet contains 192 nodes, each with 24 cores of Intel Xeon CPU power and costs upwards of $500,000; with a power cost of about $100,000 per year.

We know that some of you have been with us since the beginning, and we are grateful for your contributions. We’ve come such a long way since 1997. A Pentium 100 computer could calculate 100,000 keys/sec of RC5. A $150 graphics card today is 30,000 times faster. Our first OGR project searching for the optimal Golomb ruler with 24 marks took a little over 4 years to complete. At the time we started OGR-24, OGR-28 looked almost impossible. Thanks to the sterling efforts of our brilliant coders, and you, our volunteers, we have proved optimal rulers for 25, 26 and 27 marks. We’re well on our way to proving the optimal ruler with 28 marks, where our throughput is 100 times faster than when we started on OGR-24. Even as we approach 70% completion on the project, there is still a better than 1 in 7 chance that the OGR stub your computer works on today has not been calculated before.

One way you can help is to download the latest version of the client software for your platform. We will be releasing new clients shortly which can support the latest processors and graphics cards from Intel, AMD and ARM. Whether you have a Core, Ryzen, Pi, Galaxy or Xeon (including Xeon Phi), we have a client for you.

Following on from her excellent work on RC5 ARM64 cores, our good friend Sunset has written a core for processors featuring AVX-512 instructions which is an astounding 70% quicker than the cores we have, which are already highly optimised.

Telling your friends about distributed.net and our projects – and working together with them in a team – will help us take months and years off our expected project completion dates. Perhaps you have a friend who used to run dnetc in our early days? Let them know that we are still here :)

Moo!

2017/03/11

A quick update

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 18:44 +00:00

We have opened the 22/x stub space on OGR-28 this weekend. In a little over 3 years, we have completed more than 29% of the work necessary to prove the Optimal Golomb Ruler with 28 marks. We have also just passed the ‘300 million stubs completed’ milestone. Over 47,700 of us working together have helped to make this happen.

One of our newest contributors on the coding side, Sunset, has helped us make a native PPC64 client for systems running Linux. She has some experience writing for VMX (which you may know as Altivec) and is hoping to update our existing cores for 64 bit systems. If you have a Power9 system in action, we would love to hear from you.

Moo!

2016/08/24

Time for a new IRC home

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 01:50 +00:00

TL;DR — Join us in #distributed on irc.freenode.net

29-Aug-1997 18:00 #rc5 topic is Has anyone seen my keys? -- http://rc5.distributed.net/
29-Aug-1997 18:00 #rc5 topic set by BovineOne on Fri Aug 29 18:38:59
29-Aug-1997 18:00 #rc5 created on Fri Apr 04 11:02:59

In early 1997 distributed.net became an actual thing entirely within the context of an Internet Relay Chat channel, #rc5 on the EFnet IRC network. Aside from the occasional “beerfest” meetup, the vast majority of this project’s coordination, victory celebrations, and commiserations have been shared on IRC. IRC has been the foundation for everything we’ve accomplished as a community.

<_GNU_> Lets set up a irc.distributed.net and put the channel there! :P

Some time around 2000 we split from EFnet and created our own public IRC network, mainly so that we could start encrypting the IRC traffic — a wort hwhile goal for a security and encryption focused group of geeks. Encrypted IRC was brand-new and barely supported at the time. Our IRC network has continued to serve us well for the past fifteen years, but looking around the landscape has changed significantly. Encryption is supported everywhere and proper channel and nick services bots are ubiquitous. It’s become more difficult to justify the effort and reliance on generosity from our hosting partners to run our own network.

It makes sense to re-join a “proper” IRC network and benefit from that scale and attention to operations. So… Effectively immediately the official support and community channel for distributed.net can now be found on the freenode irc network and irc.distributed.net will be shutting down very soon.

We’ll be forever grateful to Paul Followell at LightBound and FlightAware for their server space and network time. Many thanks to the developers of UnrealIRCd for a decade of secure and reliable server code. And also thanks to everyone at freenode for welcoming us to our new home.

PING
PONG
/CTCP SOUND moo.wav

2012/07/18

[resolved] Webserver outage

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 05:07 +00:00

If you have tried accessing www.distributed.net recently, you might have noticed that it was offline for nearly a full week. We unfortunately suffered from multiple hard disk failures just a couple of days apart on the RAID10 array of the machine that serves as our primary webserver, DNS server, and mail server. Ultimately, the disk array was unrecoverable and it will need to be recreated with new hard drives that we’ve just purchased. Fortunately, we have pretty recent backups of everything important so we’ve begun bringing the website and blogs back online using alternate hosting.

There are still a few minor things offline (bugzilla, email fetch/flush, email support, speeds database, project graphs) but we hope to have those all back online soon. We’re also taking this opportunity to improve our server infrastructure to minimize problems in the future. Of course during the website outage, the keymaster, keyserver network, and stats server continued to function and process blocks without interruption, so we expect that most of our participants were not noticeably impacted. Keep on crunching! ]:8)

2012/01/25

[resolved] Unplanned webserver outage

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 02:45 +00:00

We have just recovered from some unplanned outage of our main webserver that hosts www.distributed.net, blogs.distributed.net, bugs.distributed.net, and some of our other web interfaces. During this time our stats server and our keyserver network remained available and uninterrupted. We’re still investigating the cause, but we hope to minimize the impact of such problems in the future.

2011/06/07

Happy IPv6 day

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 23:52 +00:00

distributed.net is one of the many websites participating in the International IPv6 day. On June 8 2011 starting at 00:00 UTC, we will have AAAA records listed in our DNS for www.distributed.net. Stats and our keyservers will not be affected during this event. For most people you should have no problems continuing to access our website. For further details, check out http://www.worldipv6day.org/

2010/12/12

website backend upgraded

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 19:23 +00:00

The mediawiki backend on www.distributed.net has been upgraded to the latest version. Let us know if you see any breakage.

2010/09/21

Integer boundaries

Filed under: stats,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , @ 15:31 +00:00

So, stats hit a milestone of sorts. We’re got a team that has now done 2^63 keys in rc5. This has overflowed the column that it was stored in.

The temporary solution is to increase these columns to NUMERIC(25), which is 10^25. This gives us over a million times more storage until we get a more “correct” solution, which is to store stats units in the database. But that requires more work, and we’re looking to get things up as quickly as possible.

We apologize for the downtime but we didn’t realize how good you guys are!

2010/06/27

New website rolled out

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 04:44 +00:00

We just put our new website infrastructure online a few minutes ago, so you should be able to see it at http://www.distributed.net/ (or possibly once your DNS cache refreshes).

Just like our new blogging system announced last month, the goal of this upgrade was to clean up some of our back-end infrastructure and simplify content updating for us.  We’re also preparing to decommission the old server hardware used by our old website, so this was a good opportunity to do it.

This has been a pretty complex migration due to the mix of technologies, pages variations, and supported language translations but almost all of our old URLs should continue to load without disruption.  We’re now running MediaWiki with a custom skin and a custom language extension so that we can provide the same experience as the old website. In fact, unless you look carefully you may not even notice any differences!

There will be some more website updates over the next few weeks, so look forward for more announcements soon.

Moo! ]:8)

2010/05/08

New blogging system to replace plans

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 07:47 +00:00

This posting is mostly just a test, but it does have some mild informational value…

We’ve just finished replacing our old home-grown “.plan” file system with a more modern blogging system running on new server hardware.  Technically, we stopped serving “finger” requests several years ago, so this isn’t that big of a change.  All of the previous posts from our old “.plan” system have been imported and all old URLs should be automatically redirected to their new locations here at http://blogs.distributed.net/

If you subscribe to our RSS feed, then your reader might have re-displayed some older posts when it followed the redirect to its new location.  Prior RSS posts are being published with the same “PermaLink guid” so you might not see that issue at all, depending on your reader.

Users that are subscribed to our “plans” mailing list will continue to be able to read new staff blog posts, despite the obsolete name of the list.  However, the readability of some new  posts there may be impacted by the conversion of HTML to plaintext for that mailing list.

IRC users in our #distributed channel on irc.cuckoo.com should now also be receiving notification of new blog entries instead of plan posts.

Although this blogging system does support user comments, we’ re not going to enable them here quite yet since we are working on some other exciting improvements that would complicate things later.

Hopefully this revamped backend should make it easier for us to make more regular posts to our users.  Keep crunchin’!  ]:8)

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