What is Asteroids@home?is a research project that uses Internet-connected computers to do research in Asteroids@home. You can participate by downloading and running a free program on your computer.
Asteroids are the most numerous objects in the solar system. So far, hundreds of thousands of asteroids are known, with hundres of new discoveries every day. Altough the total number of known asteroids is large, very little is known about the physical properties of individual objects. For a significant part of the population, only the size of the bodies is known. Other physical parameters (the shape, the rotation period, direction of the rotation axis,...) are known only for hundreds of objects.
Because asteroids have in general irregular shapes and they rotate, the amount of sunlight they scatter towards the observer varies with time. This variation of brightness with time is called a lightcurve. The shape of a lightcurve depends on the shape of asteroid and also on the viewing and illumination geometry. If a sufficient number of lightcurves observed under various geometries is collected, a unique physical model of the asteroid can be reconstucted by the lightcurve inversion method.
The project Asteroids@home was started with the aim to significanly enlarge our knowledge of physical properties of asteroids. The BOINC application uses photometric measurements of asteroids observed by professional big all-sky surveys as well as 'backyard' astronomers. The data is processed using the lightcurve inversion method and a 3D shape model of an asteroid together with the rotation period and the direction of the spin axis are derived.
Because the photometric data from all-sky surveys are typically sparse in time, the rotation period is not directly 'visible' in the data and the huge parameter space has to be scanned to find the best solution. In such cases, the lightcurve inversion is very time-consuming and the distributed computation is the only way how to efficiently deal with photometry of hundres of thousands of asteroids. Moreover, in order to reveal biases in the method and reconstruct the real distribution of physical parameters in the asteroid population, it is necessary to process large data sets of 'synthetic' populations.
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New AVX512 application released
We are very proud to announce our new set of optimized applications that will utilize AVX512 instruction set capable engines or to be precise those, which support AVX512dq instructions!
These applications are built to support both Linux and Windows 64bit architecture OS. The development of this version was possible thanks to the great help provided by ahorek's team!
Unfortunately it turns out that BOINC client applications for Windows still do not report all processor options to the server correctly. It is because of a known bug and even after a lot of discussions in BOINC's channels it's still there. The good news is that thanks to ahorek's team a bugfix was already accepted and merged into the BOINC's repository and the fix will be applied when client version 7.26.0 is released. Till then in order to run the AVX512 application you might need to switch to the Anonymous platform.
We'd like to remind you that while the Boinc server is capable of finding the best performing application for every particular system taking into account multiple factors, after a while it will start sending the right one for every particular system. Which means that even if your CPU supports AVX512dq instructions it still might receive FMA or AVX tasks and there is nothing to be concerned about. In such a case you might want to give a try to the so-called Anonymous platform where your client will explicitly request the AVX512 application.
Happy crunching and thank you for your support!
New asteroid models - corrigendum
After a while, let me announce our paper based on the Asteroids@home project. It was published last year in the Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences: https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/link_gateway/2022FrASS...909771D/PUB_HTML. We used ATLAS photometry and its bootstrap samples to derive rotation periods (no shape) for about 5000 asteroids.
The A@H project is currently processing data from ATLAS and Gaia together - that's what you are computing now.
Thank you all for your contribution!
P.S. Please ignore the previous news about the paper published in Astronomy and Astrophysics - its results were not based on A@H because, at that time, the server was down due to COVID and hardware issues. Sorry for the confusion.
New OpenCL application for AMD GPUs
We are proud to announce our new OpenCL applications for AMD GPUs!
Development process took some time but we finally managed to build it.
There are still many rough edges to be polished but thanks to you guys and to your feedback we'll continue to improve the code.
Linux application requires 64 bit OS with GLIBC v2.31 or higher and will run on most AMD Radeon GPU cards and some AMD Integrated Graphics with support of OpenCL 1.1 or higher.
Windows application requres 64bit Windows 10 or 11 and will run on most AMD Radeon cards and some AMD Integrated Graphics with support of OpenCL 1.2 or higher.
Happy crunching and thank you for your support!
New Raspbian OS aarch64 (armv8) application is here
A new, 64bit, version of the Period search application for the Raspberry Pi was released today supporting aarch64 (armv8) architecture!
It will be interesting to get some feedback from you about how it performs as there still could be some issues to be solved.
Happy crunching and don't forget to use active cooling on your boards as the app can be very aggressive to the cores on times.
New FMA application released
We are happy to present you another set of applications that will utilize those CPUs, which possess the FMA instruction set!
It was built to support both Linux and Windows OS with 64bit architecture.
What must be taken into account with these applications is that depending on the CPU architecture, generation, model, version, speed and number of utilized cores, in some cases the FMA applications may run slower than the corresponding AVX ones because of how those instructions are handled on different architectures, details that I'll not going further here as there is a lot of information on Internet. Also, there could be another case using even the same FMA application. For instance, there could be a situation where on the same particular system, having your preferences restrict the use of just a single core of, let's say, an Intel(R) Xeon(R) W Processor Xeon W-2195 of the Skylake-W Architecture, that single core will run much faster, close to processors' Turbo frequency of 4.3GHz, than if your configuration allows the client to utilize let's say 12 or more cores. In the second case those cores will run close to the processors' base frequency of 2.3GHz, depending on their actual number, which will result drastically in lowering of the application performance. Take a look at this article where under the "Per Core Turbo Data" chapter you will find explanation about how the Turbo ratio limits works.
Still, while the Boinc server is capable of finding the best performed application for every particular system, taking into account multiple factors, and after a while it will start sending the right one for every particular system. Which means that even if your CPU is equipped with the FMA engine it still might receive an AVX tasks and there is nothing to be concerned.
So happy crunching and thank you for your support!
Radim Vančo (FoxKyong)