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Profile Benjamin Wandelt
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Message 409 - Posted: 25 Jun 2007, 22:30:15 UTC
Last modified: 25 Jun 2007, 22:34:11 UTC

Hi -

I would like to hear some of the alpha testers' thoughts/comments/suggestions on a couple of things I raised in my letter to you. So I thought I'd start this thread with a few questions.

First this:
As we are preparing to go live publicly, we are also developing a web site that will go behind the scenes of Cosmology@Home and our research, explaining the meaning of the cosmological parameters. We will release this website at the official launch of Cosmology@Home.

and
... beyond being an opportunity for active public participation in our research program C@H should also provide the opportunity for everyone to help understand the exciting research they are contributing to.

Here are my questions: how important is the quality of the supporting material for a BOINC project to you? Would you spend time reading about the "behind the scenes?" Are you interested in the people behind the project? Have you ever read extensive material about the science behind the project you are contributing to most? If we created online events where you could interact with a cosmologist real time would you like to participate?

My second question is about the idea of giving out a C@H prize. Here is how I described the idea in my letter to you:
As a further incentive for people to participate we are considering offering the Cosmology@Home Prize for the owner of the computer that calculated the model that best fits the data as of the 31st of December 2008. We will acknowledge you by your real name in one of our research publications (of course, only if you grant us permission to use your name - if you will not, we will pass the prize on to the contributor of the second best model and so on). Please let us know if this sounds like an attractive idea to you.

Any thoughts?

Benjamin Wandelt
---
Creator of Cosmology@Home
Professor of Astronomy and Physics
University of Illinois
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Message 411 - Posted: 25 Jun 2007, 22:45:36 UTC
Last modified: 25 Jun 2007, 22:47:51 UTC

I enjoy projects with a rich website containing lots of information. I'm curious by nature and want to at least try to understand the science behind what my little CPU is doing.

As for acknowledging the best fitting model. Rosetta already does this. They have a Predictor of the Day and those people are acknowledged in papers for publication. Screen name or real name plus name of the team if applicable.

But is there a reason that you'd rather not acknowledge a cruncher by their screen name only?

Just a few thoughts...
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Message 412 - Posted: 25 Jun 2007, 23:29:27 UTC
Last modified: 25 Jun 2007, 23:30:32 UTC

My two cents (preferences):

I am not a scientist nor do I have the best grasp on technical terms. I would just like a simple explaination of what exactly we are doing so that lay people (like me) have an understanding of the project. I am sure others would be interested in more detailed and in depth explainations.

I have crunched for a few projects that have sent out newsletters or posted updates on the website. I'm am sure that I speak for many in saying that sort of feedback is greatly appreciated. One thing I have discovered during my time crunching many projects, is how important it is to have communication flowing between the crunchers and the project.

I would also like to know who the people are behind the project.

The idea of having some kind of on-line event where we could ask questions or such is a neat idea. I must admit I am not sure how much I would interact in this.

Really, I think that most crunchers are a fairly simple group that are easy to please. Communication is probably the most important aspect. Well, that and having WUs to crunch.

The idea of having our name added to a scientific paper is nice but a $10,000 prize would be better :)
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Message 417 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 2:10:24 UTC

Personally, the more information the better in my opinion, so I'd love to read more about the project's aims and aspirations.

I also enjoy seeing project administrators interact with the community.

I have some background in astronomy and astrophysics, so it's always good to catch up somewhat.

Bok
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Message 418 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 3:33:32 UTC

Adding to Acemfrog...

Documentation is good. Simple explanations can be hard to write, especially when dealing with a highly mathematical/technical topic like cosmology.

It would be nice to have one page that has the basics. Who, what, why and how (in laymens terms). It would be nice to either has a page with more detailed information or links to *good* sites.

Learning styles differ for different people. For some people, reading things works best. For others, pictures help. For still others, interactive things help. One thing that helped me understand how the twin paradox works was an interactive site where you could manipulate various parameters and see how the twins aged (I wish I could remember the URL of the site).

This is all ambitious. But you did ask :)
Kathryn :o)
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Message 419 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 4:13:53 UTC

I believe that S@H also has open that the crunchers that find the first proven ET signal can get their names published in the discovery article. I believe that Prime Grid also does something where those that actually find primes are given a brief notice on the web site (not quite certain I am remembering this correctly). So all in all, not a bad idea.

The better the information about the science behind the project, the happier most of the crunchers appear to be. Some are just confused by the extra information, but in general, they appreciate it even if they can't quite understand it.


BOINC WIKI
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Message 421 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 7:23:55 UTC

I would be very interested in some articles about the science being done here, as it interests me. Usually, I try to get a basic understanding of the project I run, so a "lite" description together with a more in-depth one for those interested, would be great.
Also, it would be nice to get a face on the people behind the project. I know Docking@home has this, and probably other projects too.

About the price idea, of course it would be nice to get your name on the research paper, but is it really fair? You are the people doing the hard work and who should be acknowledged, not necesarily us. I think a C@H mug would be more appreciated - mugs are always good! :-D
How about sending out a mug every 3 months or so, to the one having crunched the best model?
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Message 422 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 7:32:40 UTC

For me, your letter brought me to this project. I´m very intrested in science, espacally physics as an upcoming student of this sciencefield. And so I enjoy reading such articels. Please give us more of it. ;)
The prize is an extra to motivate the participants more, no bad idea in my eyes.

MfG
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Message 423 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 7:56:27 UTC - in response to Message 409.  

Dear Benjamin.

Here's my two cents:

First:

Information about Cosmology@Home sure will be welcome on the day you go live publicly. People will want to know what this project is about and whether it's just another BOINC project or something they might consider interesting.

I think it's essential that you support a decent quality of supporting material. I personally would propably spend more than just one hour reading the "behind the scenes" stuff.

Events where one could interact with the "real cosmologists" could be something really cool. I'd love to participate there.

The C@H prize is nice, but I wouldn't consider it essential. Other projects that I've participated with as a member of a team have pointed out the total share that one team contributed. Which made almost every member of that team cheer.
Example: First team to get 1 million credits / Team with most credits this month ... You might be able to think of that yourself.
The "team spirit" sure is worth it.

Sincerely,

Sysfried
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Message 424 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 8:05:13 UTC

The prize is a very good idea, especially for those like me that are working in the domain of sciences.

But I don't know if it's as encouraging for lambda users that are just interest in that project and no more.


For the explanation web site, I think you have to handle two kinds of readers: one kind will be just interested and you will have to explain what you do, for which purpose in simple words (and that's not a simple task ^^), the other one will have the basis and the will to understand more deeply and completely what you are doing, and all about the science that's underlaying this project.

May be a graduate explanation, from basis up to cosmo theories in n-dimension spaces would be a good idea. Somehow like a course.


------
Thrr-Gilag Kee'rr

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Message 437 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 18:47:58 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jun 2007, 19:09:47 UTC

Hmm... there's not much to add to what's already said here...

As Svenie25 said, it was *your* letter which brought some of us to the firsts steps of the project... I like cosmology in general, and I wanted to help C@h becoming a reality

Creating a background is not only neccesary, but *essential* - my team colleague Thrr-Gilag pointed out some useful points: the site should need two different explanations of the project: one smooth page to help us understand the basics (remember some ppl will crunch for the science, but others just for credits or fun), and another one that goes deep into the cosmology science subject - this is something we don't usually find on other distributed projects, giving the idea the common user is so "dumb" he couldn't understand it :(

The prize idea... well, you can keep the money; you'll need it to support the project on the many years (hope so) it'll run ;) but some reward (posting a username on site news, create competitions between crunchers or even teams...) does not take much time, and is far appreciated by us

Finnally, *this* idea of asking for our thoughts is what a web site needs to becomes a *great* web site - the feedback between creators/web developpers and members is necessary to build a close community

Kindly
Alc
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Message 442 - Posted: 26 Jun 2007, 21:36:01 UTC - in response to Message 437.  



The prize idea... well, you can keep the money; you'll need it to support the project on the many years (hope so) it'll run ;) but some reward (posting a username on site news, create competitions between crunchers or even teams...) does not take much time, and is far appreciated by us

Kindly
Alc


Yes, we don't want money, glory is enough ;-)

I think giving prize(s) is a good way to keep motivaton on but .... waiting until end of 2008 for the best model is a bit far. Of course not a user of the day, or a predictor of the day like Rosetta does but something inbetween would be nice. But related to science.
JMO
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Message 450 - Posted: 27 Jun 2007, 0:13:19 UTC - in response to Message 442.  



The prize idea... well, you can keep the money;


Yes, we don't want money, glory is enough ;-)


I'll trade anyone my glory for your money :)
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Message 462 - Posted: 27 Jun 2007, 4:35:02 UTC - in response to Message 450.  

The prize idea... well, you can keep the money;

Yes, we don't want money, glory is enough ;-)

I'll trade anyone my glory for your money :)

I spent it all on invites.
me@rescam.org
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Message 466 - Posted: 27 Jun 2007, 9:12:01 UTC
Last modified: 27 Jun 2007, 9:33:29 UTC

Hello Benjamin,
Myself, really donnot inderstand the computing end of the w/u.But "mostly" realise the objective of Cosmology@home.Yes, there is plenty of information there to be able to understand the Concept.
Also a good idea too use the participants name if there pc finds the closest Model that fits the Data.!st, 2nd, 3rd.As said early in thread Rosetta does this also, And is a good Benchmark for me.
Myself, I really dont need encouragment too crunch a new Project.I just Love trying new things, just to help out a newbie, on the Block "as you were".Boinc is my passion. And the Cosmos is 2 kewl.
Great start Benjamin, all my w/u are "valid" such as this one
http://cosmos.astro.uiuc.edu/cosmohome/result.php?resultid=130926
This is my Box here:CPU type GenuineIntel
Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.40GHz [Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1][fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe constant_tsc up pni monitor ds_cpl cid xtpr]
Number of CPUs 1
Operating System Linux
2.6.19.2
Memory 749.02 MB
Cache 256 KB
Swap space 1592.34 MB
Total disk space 18.62 GB
Free Disk Space 16.52 GB
Measured floating point speed 1052.25 million ops/sec
Measured integer speed 2154.17 million ops/sec
Also the site looks great, very easy on the eyes.Right from the beginning, and, also, had uotd right at the beginning.
Thank You for the opportunity too crunch

Sincerely

Doug Worrall

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Message 552 - Posted: 28 Jun 2007, 19:41:34 UTC
Last modified: 28 Jun 2007, 19:44:20 UTC

Having followed cosmology in Science News, The New York Times (Tuesday) Science section, and sometimes on NOVA and related science shows, as well as attending lectures in NYC at the Hayden Planetarium by Lisa Randall and others, I love to follow the science! The level of explanation and resultant excitement about the science is the key factor in how I choose Boinc projects to work on.

If you would also describe the intermediate and longer term goals of the project, that would be very helpful in terms of keeping us interested in plugging away over the longer term! And also updates on how the project is tracking in achieving its goals, and what (if anything) has been learned so far. :)

And as others have said, a project team that regularly provides updates and communicates with the crunchers gets across the feeling that we are an important resource for you. Projects that just tend to let things go for a long period of time with no communication makes me wonder if I am really that valuable to them, or are my contributions just "taken for granted"!

Great job so far! You are all doing very well, and I for one am very happy with the project on all levels! You guys are very buttoned up, and that is most appreciated! :)

And to add one more thought, a bio and perhaps photos of the project team does help to put a human face on the project!
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Message 561 - Posted: 29 Jun 2007, 4:27:28 UTC

I Like the prize idea for said accomplihment and reaching out to the community in such ways has ALWAYS rewarded Boinc projects with usership.My impression would be launch your ideas and see how many hits you get on that site.You can determine from there and message boards and new users how sucessful you were.
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Message 568 - Posted: 29 Jun 2007, 13:21:06 UTC

Thank you very much for all your very helpful thoughts and suggestions!

A couple of quick updates: our layout for my new and much improved group home is making good progress. Other than information on the people behind C@H will contain a more research oriented part and a part that is more oriented to the non-specialist enthusiast, discussing the science of C@H and beyond.

If you cannot wait to see who's behind C@H at the moment, feel free to go to my current group home page (linked on the C@H front page) and from there to the People tab. you can get see images and short bios of the people behind C@H. Those who would like to get into more depth can click on research and see publication lists and software.

Feel free to submit questions on our research on the FAQ - all the answers will also be a part of the new home page.

Keep your feedback coming and I look forward to our future interactions.

All the best,
Ben

Creator of Cosmology@Home
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Message 1676 - Posted: 31 Jul 2007, 19:32:57 UTC

Ben--

Your team's efforts have been terrific.

I read everything I can about different projects before I choose the one to crunch.

I also like feedback about science objectives and milestones while I'm crunching.

--Fred Kline
Born to OC/DC
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Message 2300 - Posted: 25 Aug 2007, 2:31:12 UTC
Last modified: 25 Aug 2007, 2:36:20 UTC

Hi,

I think the web site idea is a good one. Whilst there are web sites which provide information about our planetary system, others which give information on Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. There are also, on sites which most big organizations run, sections for kids.

I would be like to see, and be interested in, a site which provided a clear and concise, comprehensive overview of Cosmology together with definitions of terms. This would not have to be to technical, but not to simplistic either, and if it could also be in plain English it would help the comprehension, i.e. the art of avoiding technobabble with out talking down or over simplifying.

In as much as the web site would be specific to this project, setting it in this context, so that the project can be easily understood, in terms of what it is trying to do and its challenges and the wider general field in which work is being done, would I am sure, be most welcome. Especially laymen such as my self.
I would welcome 'a bit of an education' on the subject.

Perhaps the idea of a 'Prize' is overstating it a bit. An undertaking to acknowledge and give a full named credit in published results; for any discoveries made, would be enough I feel.

The 'Ask a question' idea is a good one.

My thoughts.

K.
Space Times Info
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