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Why is there no N-body application for Mac's?

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Message 71749 - Posted: 11 Feb 2022, 23:23:49 UTC

why is there no N-body application for Mac's?
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Profile Martin Ryba
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Message 75942 - Posted: 24 Jun 2023, 16:16:46 UTC - in response to Message 71749.  

why is there no N-body application for Mac's?


Second the question! Now that Separation has stopped, my Mac has no MW tasks in the queue :(
Better is the enemy of the good. -Voltaire
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon
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Message 76001 - Posted: 27 Jun 2023, 20:39:20 UTC - in response to Message 71749.  

why is there no N-body application for Mac's?


I would also love to keep contributing. I know Macs / Apple Silicon don't make up a ton of systems contributing, but it would be great for a build for n-body for us
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Leo J Keller II

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Message 76222 - Posted: 10 Jul 2023, 13:22:42 UTC

Are there any plans to offer work units for Macs with Apple M1 or M2 chipsets, or should I drop this project?
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Message 76225 - Posted: 10 Jul 2023, 16:23:32 UTC - in response to Message 76222.  

Please note - I am an end user, not a member of the MilkyWay team, so this is a personal opinion...

My guess is it won't happen soon, if ever :-( -- I can think of several reasons why Apple Silicon is not seen as a priority.

Firstly, there may not be a viable long-term version of OpenMP available for M1/M2 (&c) [similar to the lack of guaranteed long-term availability of OpenCL...] If a major rewrite is necessary to use another multi-threading mechanism, that is not likely to happen in house given that those running MilkyWay are not necessarily programmers first and foremost.

(If in doubt about OpenMP on Apple, put "OpenMP Apple Silicon" into a search engine and see what you get back; much of it is not reassuring...)

Secondly, even if OpenMP is viable, the availability of hardware and "expert" staff time to port to Apple SiIicon might be seen as a negative.

Thirdly, even if there is the will to get past points one and two above, there then needs to be a prolonged period of testing to ensure that the new application produces results that are at least in the right general region -- otherwise, think what would happen if a pair of Apples both returned bad science! (That isn't a dig at Apple kit, by the way; there have been examples in other projects where some hardware and/or O/S-specific libraries produces significantly different results; more often seen with GPU code, but...)

I no longer have any Apple kit [for various reasons not relevant here], but I do think it'll be a shame if Apple Silicon kit finds itself shut out of various projects because Apple places [accidental?] barriers in the way of non-commercial software development; the kit seems impressively fast and there are lots of willing users out there (WCG and Einstein users are baying for proper Apple Silicon apps, for instance!)

Cheers - Al.

P.S. I no longer have any Windows kit either :-)
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Message 76229 - Posted: 10 Jul 2023, 22:54:09 UTC - in response to Message 76225.  

Please note - I am an end user, not a member of the MilkyWay team, so this is a personal opinion...

My guess is it won't happen soon, if ever :-( -- I can think of several reasons why Apple Silicon is not seen as a priority.

Firstly, there may not be a viable long-term version of OpenMP available for M1/M2 (&c) [similar to the lack of guaranteed long-term availability of OpenCL...] If a major rewrite is necessary to use another multi-threading mechanism, that is not likely to happen in house given that those running MilkyWay are not necessarily programmers first and foremost.

(If in doubt about OpenMP on Apple, put "OpenMP Apple Silicon" into a search engine and see what you get back; much of it is not reassuring...)

Secondly, even if OpenMP is viable, the availability of hardware and "expert" staff time to port to Apple SiIicon might be seen as a negative.

Thirdly, even if there is the will to get past points one and two above, there then needs to be a prolonged period of testing to ensure that the new application produces results that are at least in the right general region -- otherwise, think what would happen if a pair of Apples both returned bad science! (That isn't a dig at Apple kit, by the way; there have been examples in other projects where some hardware and/or O/S-specific libraries produces significantly different results; more often seen with GPU code, but...)

I no longer have any Apple kit [for various reasons not relevant here], but I do think it'll be a shame if Apple Silicon kit finds itself shut out of various projects because Apple places [accidental?] barriers in the way of non-commercial software development; the kit seems impressively fast and there are lots of willing users out there (WCG and Einstein users are baying for proper Apple Silicon apps, for instance!)

Cheers - Al.

P.S. I no longer have any Windows kit either :-)


This is exactly where I wish Richard Hassellgrove and his group of software testers could get with the different Projects and get some basic across the Projects tech support, probably not free though, to help with things like this. Einstein for example has Mac apps for all the different versions from a Cheese Grater Mac to the new M2 cpu. Maybe they could even provide their apps, admin to admin, and let MilkyWay for example work on changing it so it works here.
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Message 76238 - Posted: 11 Jul 2023, 11:48:56 UTC - in response to Message 76229.  

Mikey,

This is exactly where I wish Richard Hassellgrove and his group of software testers could get with the different Projects and get some basic across the Projects tech support, probably not free though, to help with things like this. Einstein for example has Mac apps for all the different versions from a Cheese Grater Mac to the new M2 cpu. Maybe they could even provide their apps, admin to admin, and let MilkyWay for example work on changing it so it works here.
Yup, that would be wonderful, but a lot [if not all] of the BOINC development and support is now on a volunteer basis -- I wonder if Richard may be a volunteer himself :-) (By the way, he is currently trying to help the CPDN folks with a recalcitrant credit problem...)

As for getting help from the rest of the community, they'd need some project that has multi-threaded code that runs on Apple Silicon, and they'd probably have to find an expert programmer from somewhere. None of the Einstein apps available on Apple Silicon are multi-threaded as far as I'm aware... :-(

You're probably familiar with "Good, quick, cheap - any two!" (or similar); the reality in many cases is that one only gets really good in the absence of both quick and cheap! Sadly, the goal in a lot of places is to do things as cheaply as possible nowadays; this is especially true in most academic environments that don't have huge research budgets (even Einstein have lost staff that were not replaced...). And even if there is a willingness to recruit, most programmers can earn far better money in a non-academic/research environment, especially in specialist cases1.

I try not to be pessimistic about the future of distributed computing, but sometimes it's quite difficult!

Cheers - Al.

1 I wonder who'll pick up Apple BOINC client if/when Charlie Fenton is no longer willing/able to look after it...
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Message 76242 - Posted: 11 Jul 2023, 23:27:52 UTC - in response to Message 76238.  

Mikey,

This is exactly where I wish Richard Hassellgrove and his group of software testers could get with the different Projects and get some basic across the Projects tech support, probably not free though, to help with things like this. Einstein for example has Mac apps for all the different versions from a Cheese Grater Mac to the new M2 cpu. Maybe they could even provide their apps, admin to admin, and let MilkyWay for example work on changing it so it works here.
Yup, that would be wonderful, but a lot [if not all] of the BOINC development and support is now on a volunteer basis -- I wonder if Richard may be a volunteer himself :-) (By the way, he is currently trying to help the CPDN folks with a recalcitrant credit problem...)

As for getting help from the rest of the community, they'd need some project that has multi-threaded code that runs on Apple Silicon, and they'd probably have to find an expert programmer from somewhere. None of the Einstein apps available on Apple Silicon are multi-threaded as far as I'm aware... :-(

You're probably familiar with "Good, quick, cheap - any two!" (or similar); the reality in many cases is that one only gets really good in the absence of both quick and cheap! Sadly, the goal in a lot of places is to do things as cheaply as possible nowadays; this is especially true in most academic environments that don't have huge research budgets (even Einstein have lost staff that were not replaced...). And even if there is a willingness to recruit, most programmers can earn far better money in a non-academic/research environment, especially in specialist cases1.

I try not to be pessimistic about the future of distributed computing, but sometimes it's quite difficult!

Cheers - Al.

1 I wonder who'll pick up Apple BOINC client if/when Charlie Fenton is no longer willing/able to look after it...


BITE YOUR TONGUE!!! Charlie is NEVER leaving we will chain him to his desk!!! I agree though the one off people make Boincs future less than ideal.
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Questions and Answers : Macintosh : Why is there no N-body application for Mac's?

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