Exprexxo Thoughts

There are no S's in Exprexxo!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Contact in the Cloud

Well, I did it!
I made the cloud computing of Amazon join the search for first contact in the distributed computing of SETI. I think this is the first contact for these two compute-forms in the history of the galaxy; that is, until we detect that the "Large Magellanic Cloud Portal for Intergalactic Computing" (LMCPIC) has been a portal between the two by way of some virus encoded in cosmic rays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Magellanic_Cloud

Why do it? Because they were there, of course. Since Seti@home is the largest computing event created by humans, it needed to continue it’s expansion into computing’s latest evolution, the cloud. How else are we going to compete with the Rigelian’s compute force?

If you know how to launch an AMI ( meaning you have an account and a Key ), you can launch Image ami-fa41a493 and an instance of seti@home will leap into existence, ask for work from the scheduler, and start to crunch radio waves for a measly 10 cents/hour until you terminate it. Cheap labor considering how many FFTs a mathematician can get done in an hour at 1000 times the cost. The machines, being used by Amazon, take a little under 12 hours to crunch and report a full work unit, so it is best to keep the instance alive for 12 or 24 hour increments.
Get started with this Link: http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?categoryID=116&externalID=1442

I have further blended my favorite open source activities by making the instance run on Ubuntu with Apache and PHP and a couple calls to Google graphs so that you can browse to your seti minions and see what they are doing. You need only enter the public DNS name into the browser of your choice.

"Costly?" you say. You pay for the electricity of your desktop to crunch at an hourly rate of, lets say, 10 cents a kWhr. If we assume the amazon server running at 100% utilized, as Seti@home does, consumes ~100 watts an hour, that is 1 cent an hour in electricity. Then assuming that a $1000 PC would last about 2 years, that’s about 5.7 cents an hour ( 100,000 pennies divided by 2*365*24 hrs). So to buy an additional PC to run seti@home for more chances of “Being Jodie Foster” would cost you at least 6.7 cents an hour. 10 cents looks pretty good considering you don’t have to install software or hire a mathematician.

If you use AWS, give it a try, it's fun. If you do not, stay tuned ……

P.S. if you are not into “Searching for Intelligence” , I built an image that does medical research computation for the World Grid: