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Author Topic: So what is my computer doing anyway?  (Read 1045 times)
ColdHardMetal
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December 20, 2010, 12:49:09 PM
 #1

I don't want to say "what exactly is going on" because it's been pretty close to 20 years since I last studied programming and I doubt telling me "exactly" would make much sense. That being said I'm not entirely ignorant as far as computers go so getting a bit technical in an explanation is ok.

So my PC is generating coins. Fair enough. It's doing that by generating XXXXX khash/s. Now that I have the python GPU running and I can watch it work in a cmd window, I see that some of whatever I'm generating take longer than others. For example at one point it took about 7 minutes to process a whatever and then at another point it went through 7 in 3 minutes. Why are some pieces quicker than others?

What are the pieces and what happens to them after my machine is done with them? Why do some of them complete a block that results in new coins being generated? What is the block?

Sorry if these are really basic questions but this is mostly pretty new to me. I've read some stuff at various points in life that kind of touched on some of the concepts at work here and I'm just trying to get a bit better insight into what's up.

Thanks.

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teknohog
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December 20, 2010, 01:22:39 PM
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If you want to go technical, you might start with hash functions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_function

Bitcoin is trying to find messages that produce a certain kind of hash. It is hard to predict which messages work, and you have to try a large number of them. Bitcoin is designed to give a predictable average between positive results, but the individual timings cannot be predicted.

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December 20, 2010, 01:28:42 PM
 #3

First of all welcome ^^

What you're computer is doing, when generating, is trying to find a hash matching certain criterias. It's basically a proof-of-work which is hard to do at first, but easy to check for everyone once you finished.

Think of it this way: it's a lottery, and the winner will be the one that first finishes his work. He'll be the one taking all the transactions, checking them and if it all seems right he'll use his newly gained authority (lottery winner) to sign them off as accepted.

He'll be the authority checking that no one is double spending in the network for the past ~10 minutes. For his work he'll earn the blocks 50 Bitcoins as a reward.

The whole proof-of-work scheme is used to have a single authority that decides what transactions are valid, and which aren't, and having completed the proof of work all others will accept the decision. Also it is used to distribute the initial Bitcoins among all users, and not have Satoshi sell them (single point of failure).

Want to see what developers are chatting about? http://bitcoinstats.com/irc/bitcoin-dev/logs/
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December 27, 2010, 06:50:55 PM
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Great idea/program. I don't really care about Generate Coins. But I do want to help the program work well. So I Generate Coins when I can. I have a dell 8600 1.7 pentium m 2g ram xpsp3. When I Generate Coins tweetdeck will not update tweets properly.

So I lowered Bitcoin priority to low and that fixed the updates. But my screen saver will not activate so my LCD will not turn off. I would like to let Bitcoin Generate Coins all the time. Especially when my computer in not in use by me.

So is there a fix for this. Or will I have to just keep turning Generate Coins off and on manually.

Thanks..
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