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Author Topic: Distributed Computing; What if?  (Read 1454 times)
Electricbees
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January 21, 2012, 04:42:28 AM
 #1

The bitcoin network is in possession of quite a bit of processing power at the moment.

What would get done if EVERY miner pointed their efforts away from the bitcoin network, and instead at something like Milkyway@home? (We should know ATI cards suck at Folding@home...)
I'm just temporarily in awe at the magnitude of machines people could use to tackle large problems instead of supporting the bitcoin network
Food for thought, I suppose.

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January 21, 2012, 09:25:45 AM
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I am definitely not an expert, but does something theoretically hinders Bitcoin netwrok to do some kind of work as "proof os work" which is at the same time useful for somekind of sicentific application?
When not, it could be a huge social factor, and would take out the argument that "bitcoin cost much power", since it would in the same time do conventionally useful work. Moreover: it would provide an argument to get people on board! ("Do some good to the world, mine some BTC!") Grin

And if many projects are submitted, people could choose their "charity". (Like in case of BOINC...)

I am aware of the fact, that GPU computation is by no means for general purpose, and many problems are quite unsuitable, but many more are not.

(Sad, that I lack the technical expertise to implement...  Cry
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January 21, 2012, 07:12:58 PM
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I have considerable experience with GPU-based distributed computing, and you are correct, the Bitcoin network could multiply by an order of magnitude the TFLOPS in the BOINC network. The problem is (and the reason why BOINC, which has been around for ~10 yrs, is much smaller) is that BOINC doesn't make any money.

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Costia
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January 22, 2012, 01:14:49 AM
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i think the problem would be providing a proof of work
meaning - somebody has to actually to look into specific scientific applications and find a way to do that
there is theoretical no reason that it cant be done - but nobody has done it so far either
somebody will need to spend a lot of development time on something like this - and possibly come up with nothing
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January 22, 2012, 05:47:18 AM
 #5

Bitcoin block verification has very specific requirements which are probably impossible to achieve by using an external computing project of the type you mention. See also this StackExchange question.

The most important requirement is that the work is generated in a deterministic computational way from a piece of data, so that any change to the data would render the proof of work useless. Otherwise the work has no use whatsoever for verifying a block of transactions in a tamper-proof way. This is incompatible with most projects, which generate problems based on their real-world usefulness in an ad-hoc way.

It's interesting to note that if the external project is itself based on calculating hashes, there's some room for assisting it. That's basically what merged mining Namecoin is - using Bitcoin mining computations to help with an unrelated project. I expect that in the future Bitcoin mining will be merged with many other projects.

I'm just temporarily in awe at the magnitude of machines people could use to tackle large problems instead of supporting the bitcoin network
Larger problems than providing the world with a decentralized digital currency?

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January 22, 2012, 05:58:14 AM
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Larger problems than providing the world with a decentralized digital currency?

Seems pretty important to me, though albeit, Bitcoin does not necessarily gain value by more computing power being put on the network, coin prices are not equivalent to mining costs, at least right now.

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January 22, 2012, 07:13:58 PM
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or, just direct CPU at Boinc - not all of the cores, just some (performance reasons - I do this).

If you want something slightly worthwhile, "Malaria Control" probably fits the bill - many other projects are in biological sciences and some physics.  Most of the number projects are just theoretical.

Patrick  (current boinc rank 167 )
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January 22, 2012, 08:51:56 PM
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I somewhat disagree. The more powerful the Bitcoin network, the more resilient it is to attack. I value Bitcoin more if it is more difficult to attack. If other people share that opinion, voila. If only you and I were mining on our pentium III cpus, I might be a little nervous to invest more than oh say... $3.  Cheesy

True enough, but above a certain point it makes less difference. My point is more that when the Bitcoin network is large enough, as it is now, putting $10k into BOINC will do more for the world than $10k into Bitcoin. (Though it won't do more for your pocketbook!)

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PatrickHarnett
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January 22, 2012, 08:58:17 PM
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I somewhat disagree. The more powerful the Bitcoin network, the more resilient it is to attack. I value Bitcoin more if it is more difficult to attack. If other people share that opinion, voila. If only you and I were mining on our pentium III cpus, I might be a little nervous to invest more than oh say... $3.  Cheesy

True enough, but above a certain point it makes less difference. My point is more that when the Bitcoin network is large enough, as it is now, putting $10k into BOINC will do more for the world than $10k into Bitcoin. (Though it won't do more for your pocketbook!)

I use some of my bitcoins to pay for my boinc habit.
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January 27, 2012, 04:00:15 PM
 #10

If you pay me in bitcoins I will redirect my processing power anywhere you want, but I need at least 1% more than what I get from mining bitcoins.
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January 27, 2012, 08:23:11 PM
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If you pay me in bitcoins I will redirect my processing power anywhere you want, but I need at least 1% more than what I get from mining bitcoins.

Maybe you can work out how many bitcoins/day you get per cpu core - I might buy some.  There is a competitive aspect to boinc and people have started paying/buying cloud computer resources - some services offer free spare capacity, others not.

I wouldn't actually bother buying a set of cpu cores, but would be interested if you did the calculation.
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January 27, 2012, 10:54:05 PM
 #12

If you pay me in bitcoins I will redirect my processing power anywhere you want, but I need at least 1% more than what I get from mining bitcoins.

As a miner, I have always thought that someone who patched into the bitcoin mining capacity could easily destroy the current GPU-cloud services that are out there.   Create a client that runs as a miner till a more profitable job comes along, then switches to the custom job request till complete, then goes back to default bitcion mining.

Just pay me (and most miners) 110% of what we'd make mining bitcoins, and we'll rent you thousands of GPUs you can use on an on-demand basis. (We'll just mine bitcoins when you don't need us.)

"the company" would have to build out the front end, and they could make avaliable peteflops to their customers, without having to actually invest in a single GPU.

I have neither the business sense, contacts, nor technical expertise to do this, unfortunately.. But somewhere out there is someone who could.....

Sigg

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January 27, 2012, 10:55:19 PM
 #13

BOINC can do this
but they dont pay Sad
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