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Robust Asynchronous Optimization for Volunteer Computing Grids

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6 Author(s)
Travis Desell ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Rensselaer Polytech. Inst., Troy, NY, USA ; Malik Magdon-Ismail ; Boleslaw Szymanski ; Carlos Varela
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Volunteer computing grids offer significant computing power at relatively low cost to researchers, while at the same time generating public interest in different scientific projects. However, in order to be used effectively, their heterogeneity, volatility and restrictive computing models must be overcome. As these computing grids are open, incorrect or malicious results must also be handled. This paper examines extending the BOINC volunteer computing framework to allow for asynchronous global optimization as applied to scientific computing problems. The asynchronous optimization method used is resilient to faults and the heterogeneous nature of volunteer computing grids, while allowing scalability to tens of thousands of hosts. A work verification strategy that does not require the validation of every result is presented. This is shown to be able to effectively reduce the need for verification done to less than 30% of the reported results, without degrading the performance of the asynchronous search methods. An asynchronous version of particle swarm optimization (APSO) is presented and com- pared to previously used asynchronous genetic search (AGS) using the MilkyWay@Home BOINC computing project. Both search methods are shown to scale to MilkyWay@Home's current user base, over 75,000 heterogeneous and volatile hosts, something not possible for traditional optimization methods. APSO is shown to provide faster convergence to optimal results while being less sensitive to its search parameters. The verification strategy presented is shown to be effective for both AGS and APSO.

Published in:

e-Science, 2009. e-Science '09. Fifth IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

9-11 Dec. 2009