Announcing OpenMacGrid: Together We Are Strong
MacResearch is proud to announce a new project that draws upon the very best of Mac OS X and the Mac-using scientific community: OpenMacGrid. As the name suggests, OpenMacGrid is a computing grid built up entirely of Macs, and open to Mac-using scientists everywhere. OpenMacGrid is based on Apple's Xgrid technology, which comes pre-installed with every copy of Mac OS X 10.4 (or later). The potential of Xgrid has always been obvious, but until now, it has never been fully realized. OpenMacGrid will change that, by bringing the spare cycles of Mac users, together with the computational requirements of Mac researchers.
Open to All
Projects that harvest the spare cycles of commodity hardware are nothing new. It all began with SETI@home, and there are now multitudinous different causes that you can donate your computer's idle time to, from protein folding to relativistic physics. Noble as these projects are, they all share one limitation: they are closed networks. Each of these grids runs a single application, and they are not available as a computational resource to outside scientists.
OpenMacGrid is different. Like the other grids, Mac users will be able to donate their idle time to challenging scientific computations, but unlike the other networks, researchers will be able to access this resource with their own scientific applications. The programs running on OpenMacGrid will vary from day-to-day, reflecting the projects being undertaken by Mac researchers at that point in time. In this way, Mac users can directly aid scientists in achieving important scientific breakthroughs.
A Lot of Horsepower
If you're thinking OpenMacGrid will be an insignificant computational resource, think again. Testing has been underway for some time, and even before allowing the general community to connect up their Macs as Xgrid agents, a study of gravitational waves has been undertaken by our own Gaurav Khanna. Gaurav's calculations peaked at around 200Ghz of CPU power. This will increase considerably as the public connects up their machines, making OpenMacGrid a serious computational proposition for Mac researchers.
We begin the OpenMacGrid rollout today by inviting you to connect your Mac to the OpenMacGrid controller. This requires no more than entering a few details in the Sharing pane of System Preferences, and is described here. After you connect up your Mac, you will probably want to download the OpenMacGrid widget — based on the Xgrid@Stanford widget created by Mekentosj and Charles Parnot — so that you can monitor OpenMacGrid usage, and see when your machine is contributing.
Today we are also opening the grid up to scientists. This will work as follows: If you have a project you would like to run on OpenMacGrid, you can fill out an access request form and submit it to MacResearch. If there is adequate capacity available on OpenMacGrid, and your proposal meets the criteria, you will be allowed to submit jobs to the grid. MacResearch will judge whether projects are suitable for OpenMacGrid based on their system requirements, and other criteria, to prevent overburdening the agent machines that have been donated.
OpenMacGrid is an important initiative for MacResearch in 2007 and beyond. Hosting the world's largest Xgrid network, and likely one of the largest open grids in the world, fits very well with our reason for being: the facilitation of scientific research on the Mac. We are very proud of the initiative, and with your help we can all make it something ... dare I say it ... insanely great!
By contributing an agent to OpenMacGrid you recognize that third parties will be running software applications on your system. MacResearch.org, will make every attempt to ensure that third party applications are safe for execution on contributed systems (agents), but in no way will MacResearch.org or its affiliates be held liable for any damage to your system resulting from participation in OpenMacGrid. It is the responsibility of the person contributing the agent to ensure that they have permission to use the system in such a fashion.
By submitting a computation project, you recognize that your software will be running on third party systems. The potential, therefore, exists that a third party will be able to obtain your application and run it independent of the project or in a manner not intended for the original use. Should this occur you agree that MacResearch.org will not be held liable for any damage or loss of intellectual property.
OPENMACGRID IS PROVIDED BY MACRESEARCH.ORG ``AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MACRESEARCH.ORG OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF OPENMACGRID, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.