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Separation Project Coming To An End

Tag: boinc:milkyway@home
Published 2023-06-13 18:17:05

Dear Volunteers,

We are beginning to sunset the Separation project (note that this is different from the N-Body project, which still needs your help!!!). Thanks to your computational contributions, we have completed the goals that we set out to accomplish with this the project, so we are going to shut down the Separation project in the near future. We are planning on submitting a paper containing the final results of the Separation project to an academic journal in the near future. It is possible that the reviewer may request revisions that involve re-running Separation data, in which case we might bring it back for a short time, but until that happens we do not need your computer time for this. We would like to sincerely thank you for all the time and effort that you spent helping us complete this substantial task. We owe the success of the project to you all.

With this announcement comes a few updates to MilkyWay@home: MilkyWay@home will continue to exist, but only as the Nbody project. Because of the complexity of running Nbody tree codes on GPUs, there is little speed-up from running Nbody on a GPU compared to an equivalent CPU. Although we did beta-test a full GPU Nbody application, we have decided not to deploy it due to concerns over maintaining its support; among other issues, supporting GPU Nbody would require changing the GPU code every time the CPU code is updated, and making sure every change is tested and works identically on both platforms. Since we are actively working on extensions of the Nbody code that include such things as the effects of the Large Magellanic Cloud's gravity and the consequences of self-interacting dark matter on the formation of tidal streams, this parallel support would be difficult. So, when Separation shuts down, we will be ending GPU support for MilkyWay@home. This will have the greatest impact on people who crunch lots of Separation work units on high-end GPUs; these users can expect to earn a much lower amount of credit per time than they did before. If you contribute only CPU cycles, your ability to earn credit will be unaffected. We still want as many people to contribute CPU time to MilkyWay@home as possible! However, we understand that if your goal is to use GPUs to obtain a large amount of credit quickly, there are more efficient ways to do this and other projects that can better use your resources.

We would appreciate your input on this because we expect that it will probably take some time for GPU-oriented users to swap that hardware over to different projects. How long would you like us to wait before we shut down Separation?

Again, thank you so much for letting us use your processors! They have not only increased our knowledge of the Milky Way galaxy that we live in, but they have also contributed to five PhD theses and trained dozens of undergraduate students to build and maintain large and complex computing systems. These students and I thank you for your contributions. We will be posting the results of the final Separation project results probably later this year, after they have gone through the peer review process (which takes about six months on average, with wide variability).

Tom & Prof. Newberg

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