What is MLC@Home?

MLC@Home is a distributed computing project dedicated to understanding and interpreting complex machine learning models, with an emphasis on neural networks. It uses the BOINC distributed computing platform. You can find more information on our main website here: https://www.mlcathome.org.

Neural Networks have fuelled a machine learning revolution over the past decade that has led to machines accomplishing amazingly complex tasks. However, these models are largly black boxes: we know they work, but they are so complex (up to hundreds of millions of parameters!) that we struggle to understand the limits of such systems. Yet understanding networks becomes extremely important as networks are deployed in safety critical fields, like medicine and autonomous vehicles.

MLC@Home provides an open, collaborative platform for researchers studying machine learning comprehension. It allows us to train thousands of networks in parallel, with tightly controlled inputs, hyperparameters, and network structures. We use this to gain insights into these complex models.

We ask for volunteers to donate some of their background computing time to help us continue our research. We use the time-tested BOINC distributed computing infrastructure — the same infrastructure that powers SETI@home's search for alien life, and Rosetta@home's search for effective medications. BOINC is fun — you get credit for each bit of compute that you do, with leaderboards and milestones. All while helping further open research. Please follow the link below to join, and happy crunching!

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News

[TWIM Notes] May 1 2021 posted
MLC@Home has posted the May 1 2021 edition of its weekly "This Week In MLC@Home" newsletter!
A server hiccup, a note about possible issues on Linux with newer distributions with aggressive systemd sandboxing, and hope for a new client rollout this week!

Read the update and join the discussion here.
2 May 2021, 3:07:05 UTC · Discuss


[TWIM Notes] May 1 2021
This Week in MLC@Home
Notes for May 1 2021
A weekly summary of news and notes for MLC@Home

Summary
An overdue update this week.

First, we had a small server issue this morning, 5/1, and were down for about 10 hours until it was fixed. No data was lost, and we were able to restart with no further issues, although there may be some WUs that were marked invalid due to the unstable state of the system as it was going down, we're looking into that at the moment. It's the first bit of unscheduled downtime in long time. Fortunately we've been very stable since moving to the new server last year.

Second, thanks to an astute user, we've noticed a trend in newer Linux distributions that effects the MLC clients (as well as others like Einstein@Home and LHC). Some distributions are using systemd's sandboxing capabilities to limit the BOINC client and any project applications from interacting with the rest of the system for security reasons. Unfortunately, MLC's appimage-based clients use /tmp, which is now restricted under this new policy. We've identified this as an issue with Ubuntu 21.04 and Gentoo, and may become an issue further down the line for other systemd-based distributions. For now, there's a workaround listed in our forums https://www.mlcathome.org/mlcathome/forum_thread.php?id=198 . The next client update will drop appimage support and thus won't be effected by the issue going forward.

We've also spent some time working on the ROCm client, and have it working with Radeon VII as well as VEGA graphics card. Unfortunately, the current client requires you to have rocm-3.9.0 installed on your system.

Speaking of the next client version, DS4 support is implemented and works, so we hope to roll out the new CPU client with some test WUs this coming week. Features include CNN (DS4) support, static linking, (no more appimage!), and some more minor fixes.

Other News


  • Lots of great progress on DS3, we're ~80% complete. It's nice to see some green showing up on the scoreboard.
  • We participated in weeks 2 and 3 of the BOINC workshop, and look forward to the workshop posting the videos soon.
  • We're looking for conferences/workshops to submit our published paper.
  • Reminder: the MLC client is open source, and has an issues list at gitlab. If you're a programmer or data scientist and want to help, feel free to look over the issues and submit a pull request.



Project status snapshot:
(note these numbers are approximations)






Last week's TWIM Notes: Apr 22 2021

Thanks again to all our volunteers!

-- The MLC@Home Admins(s)
Homepage: https://www.mlcathome.org/
Discord invite: https://discord.gg/BdE4PGpX2y
Twitter: @MLCHome2
2 May 2021, 3:04:15 UTC · Discuss


[TWIM Notes] Apr 22 2021 posted
MLC@Home has posted the Apr 22 2021 edition of its weekly "This Week In MLC@Home" newsletter!
A busy few weeks: Paper published! 2021 BOINC Workshop presentation!

Read the update and join the discussion here.
22 Apr 2021, 5:50:11 UTC · Discuss


[TWIM Notes] Apr 22 2021
This Week in MLC@Home
Notes for Apr 22 2021
A weekly summary of news and notes for MLC@Home

Summary
It's been a very busy few weeks for MLC@Home!

On 4/14/2021, MLC presented at the 2021 BOINC Workshop. The slides are available here. The video of the presentation will be posted to youtube shortly. On 4/21/2021, we participated on in day 2 of the workshop as a member of a panel on doing AI/ML using BOINC. Videos of that should be posted shortly as well. It was clear that there's both a lot of interest in using BOINC for AI/ML, and it is also clear MLC is at the forefront of that interest.

More importantly, MLC@Home released today the first paper based on the MLDS dataset computed by our volunteers!

MLDS: A Dataset for Weight-Space Analysis of Neural Networks

In this paper, we show meaningful clustering in weight space for networks that are trained on the same data. Like any good science, these preliminary findings trigger just as many new questions as it provides answers.

All in all, as we continue to work on DS4, there's a lot of big things afoot for the future of MLC. Thanks again for the support you have shown MLC, and we hope to continue to earn your support as we move forward.

Other News


  • Lots of great progress on DS3, we're 75% complete. It's nice to see some green showing up on the scoreboard.
  • We've started live streaming some coding sessions on the discord server as we work on DS4 support.
  • Reminder: the MLC client is open source, and has an issues list at gitlab. If you're a programmer or data scientist and want to help, feel free to look over the issues and submit a pull request.



Project status snapshot:
(note these numbers are approximations)






Last week's TWIM Notes: Apr 8 2021

Thanks again to all our volunteers!

-- The MLC@Home Admins(s)
Homepage: https://www.mlcathome.org/
Discord invite: https://discord.gg/BdE4PGpX2y
Twitter: @MLCHome2
22 Apr 2021, 5:45:00 UTC · Discuss


[TWIM Notes] Apr 8 2021 posted
MLC@Home has posted the Apr 8 2021 edition of its weekly "This Week In MLC@Home" newsletter!
Information on the 2021 BOINC workshop next week, where we'll present MLC and release our first paper!

Read the update and join the discussion here.
9 Apr 2021, 1:28:09 UTC · Discuss


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©2021 MLC@Home Team
A project of the Cognition, Robotics, and Learning (CORAL) Lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)