BOINC: Data Bundles

I’ve added support into the BOINC interface for bundled data files, however adding this new featue has exposed a new issue in the BOINC interface. I’ve known previously that BOINC holds an odd assumption of immutable files — any file ever seen by BOINC is expected to *never* change it’s contents for all time — however when running a PyMW application, the executable (for example, “monte_pi”) is reused over and over desipite any changes that may have occurred in the code.

This hasn’t been an issue up until now, mainly because I was running the PyMW example applications and not modifying them between executions. However, with the introduction of PyMW data bundles, this problem has become painfully obvious. Since data bundles are given a temporary file name and this file name is dynamically embedded into the body of the executable, the executable is now changing its contents on every run.

The fact that the file is changing and the file name remains the same means that BOINC keeps only one copy of the file (because of file name immutability/versioning). The end result is that when a work unit executes on a worker machine, it tries to open the first data bundle file name that was ever created because that first file was cached and never updated.

To fix this, I’ve added some code into the BOINC interface that deletes all work unit related files from the BOINC “download” directory on every execution. This has fixed the problem for now, but the interface should rename all files to a unique name before execution. This is one of my goals for the next iteration of the BOINC interface.

Posted by Jeremy

302 Responses to “BOINC: Data Bundles”

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