News archive

Onwards to new and great (actually, lesser) heights (of cacti)
The first round of Kaktwoos processing is nearing its completion. A small number of hosts caused many errors with faulty hardware or software configurations which caused the failure of a handful of workunits. Due to these failures; several thousand new tasks have now been submitted to allow any previously failed workunits an additional chance to succeed.

All historically submitted data is currently under re-evaluation as a subset of these completed tasks has outputs which don't appear to be nominal. The re-validation of tasks will reach completion shortly, and soon a follow-up will be posted detailing the tallest cactus found during this round of Kaktwoos processing.

The Kaktwoos (kak-two-s) project was initiated by computing a small set of tall 'candidate cacti' using the single-chunk cacti stacking application Kaktoos (kak-tus). The initial cactus seed search assumed stacking began at an elevation of y=63 blocks from bedrock which is the basis of assumption for the Kaktwoos multi-chunk cacti scanning work. You have likely volunteered resources towards this effort over the past few weeks.

Now, onto the exciting news: the Kaktoos application (note the missing 'w') shall be launching on BOINC.

This application will exist to scan for individual chunk seeds which produce tall cacti (7 blocks minimum) with generation elevation of y=62. Using a lower elevation parameter for Kaktoos will hopefully allow us to discover additional naturally-generated 22+ block tall cacti with Kaktwoos.

For those wondering, the next set of tasks will produce many more resultant 'candidate' cactus seeds than the previous y=63 run. We expect 120 million generated seeds despite the required minimum height of 7 blocks we chose to reduce output drastically. This dataset will be used for quad-chunk stacking (Kaktfours anyone?) and is much more challenging to manage due to the lower probability of finding 22+ block tall cacti and increased development overhead. We could theoretically find much taller cacti with this method, with a caveat of requiring significantly more processing power. Don't worry though; there are other projects brewing which will take priority. If you are a 'stacktus' superfan or a member of the 'big cactus community', you also needn't worry; there may be even more permutations of Kaktoos and Kaktwoos inputs to try which should keep us all busy along the way.

Finally, and for reference, the tallest known cactus found by [email protected] (in Minecraft: Java Edition v1.14.4) is 22 blocks, and 24 blocks tall if using a superflat world with the desert preset. We distinguish these heights as we consider "cactus naturalis" (cactus of normal generation) cacti to be the true tall cacti, as opposed to "cactus fma vi" (cactus of superflat generation).
2 Aug 2020, 15:09:11 UTC · Discuss

Server outage resolved and supporting our infrastructure
Between 23:54 UTC yesterday (2020-07-20) and 15:35 UTC today, we suffered from a catastrophic SQL failure which forced us to restore from backup.

There may be some credit issues where the system granted more or fewer credits than you expect for work done during this time.
I can't apologize enough. If our BOINC deployment was architected for scale rather than for low cost, we could've avoided this.

There are several enhancements to our infrastructure and upgrades we'd like to make, such as migrating services to Kubernetes and potentially using a managed SQL service.

You can help! Please consider visiting our Patreon page, reviewing the current set of benefits, and making a contribution of any size; any amount helps -

All contributions go towards covering infrastructure cost and quality-of-life improvements to ensure the project's longevity.
21 Jul 2020, 20:10:54 UTC · Discuss

That was fast
The origin of the panorama image used in the Minecraft main menu from beta version 1.8.1, released in September 2011, has remained a mystery until now.

In less than 24 hours after launching the panorama application; a volunteer host for [email protected], in a sheer stroke of luck, found the world seed, 25357015387625.
This was approximately 93 days of processing time at a total of 54.5 exaFLOPs compressed into the last 24 hours.

The specific host which located the seed belongs to the user vanos0512.
Thank you to the 137 users who contributed 181 hosts with 231 GPUs over the last 24 hours. You all accomplished this.

Here are the details if you want to generate this world for yourself:
Minecraft version: Beta 1.7
Either of these two valid world seeds: 2151901553968352745 or 8091867987493326313
Co-ordinates: x60, y76, z-67

See the video released by EarthComputer announcing the finding.
18 Jul 2020, 15:32:11 UTC · Discuss

Enjoy the scenery
[email protected] is now over one month old! To celebrate this milestone, I present a new research focus; the panorama project.

If you were here during beta-testing, you might have received a very early version of panorama tasks, and the eagle-eyed among you may have seen the application details on the server status page.

The panorama app is a CUDA-only app for Linux and Windows with an Nvidia driver version of 418.96 or higher.

This project attempts to find the world seed of the iconic panorama image which appeared in the background of the main menu of Minecraft between 2011 and 2018. The first phase of this project will only last a few days, and we shall update you with their progress in the coming weeks.

Right now, the application is quite substantial. Unlike the OpenCL applications for the Kaktwoos project, if you allow BOINC to run tasks always; you may experience some stuttering or lag in your desktop environment while running these tasks. These tasks do not have checkpointing support, but run in around 1 hour on an average host to mitigate the majority of lost cycles.

As always, you can change which projects of which you decide to participate in your user preferences.

Let us know if you have any questions, and as always join the discussion over on the Discord server.
17 Jul 2020, 15:31:43 UTC · Discuss

Kaktwoos 2.03 and Badges!
You may have seen many workunits just disappear from existence today.

Worry not! We realised there were far too many workunits scanning duplicate seeds, so we've scaled back the original workunits to the correct seed ranges (no in-progress results were touched, so none of you should have lost any credit).

We have located some promising seed candidates which were missed from processing and can be used as an input to this job, so they are currently set as the highest priority.

Also, we now have badges! If you view the forums, any comments in threads, or on the leaderboards; you will see the new badges.
We're open to suggestions for future badges, so please leave us some comments on this thread.
8 Jul 2020, 21:06:03 UTC · Discuss

Profile creation and OpenCL vendor pinning
In the last news post, I advised everyone to create a profile in order to be eligible for 'user of the day' selection.
Unfortunately, there was an issue with the ReCaptcha implementation which prevented this. This issue is now resolved.

Now, you are able to create a profile here.

Also, good news for hosts with OpenCL capable hardware from more than one vendor (e.g. an Intel iGPU and an Nvidia GPU)
The latest update to the kaktwoos app should ensure the tasks run on the correct device.
If you are a user with a multi-vendor host, please keep an eye on your results and let us know if you're having any issues.

As always, please get involved with the conversation in the message boards, and join the Discord!
3 Jul 2020, 16:57:49 UTC · Discuss

MultiGPU, checkpointing, and another record breaking cactus (22 blocks tall)
Finally, support for multiple GPUs and checkpointing has landed.

• If you have multiple GPUs, the research apps will now make use of all available GPUs.
• We now support Intel GPUs.
• If work is suspended, or your machine is powered off, checkpoints will now ensure work does not start from the beginning.
• You will also notice work estimates are far more accurate.
• You do not need to take any actions to enable these features.
• We are also taking steps to increase the priority of additional results added to workunits after computation errors. This in order to speed up validation of incomplete workunits.

Thank you to Hypprs, nicoboss, DutChen18, BalintCsala, and anyone else who was involved in testing and updating the app.

For the third time in 1 week, [email protected] has broken the tallest cactus height record in normal terrain generation.
I present, a 22 block tall cactus:

1.14.4 world seed: 11343195073417814, co-ordinates: 14955936 64 -3750655.

Congratulations to volunteer SirNapkin1334, your host was responsible for locating this one!

While I have your attention, user profiles are now enabled, please ensure you create a user profile.
This will ensure you can be selected for 'user of the day' which is displayed on the homepage.

Please post any issues on our message boards. Alternatively, for real-time discussion, join our Discord.
1 Jul 2020, 12:44:20 UTC · Discuss

Record breaking cactus #2
For the second time this week, we have broken a Minecraft cactus height record!
Host belonging to volunteer 'vcokltfre' located a 21 block tall cactus which was later processed into a valid world seed.

1.14.4 world seed: 7007665385562311, co-ordinates: -20626031 64 17078576.

Congratulations to all for taking part. Here's to 22 and beyond!

27 Jun 2020, 16:39:49 UTC · Discuss

BOINC Project
Many new members have joined from SalC1's announcement and the listing of our project on the BOINC site. We welcome and hope to see all members stick around to see the community's contributions, development, and achievements.

[email protected] is a research project to locate seeds, features, the unknown, and the unseen in the block game, Minecraft.

Minecraft is currently the best-selling video game of all time. Although we have no affiliation with Microsoft, Mojang, or the development of Minecraft itself; this project was born out of necessity. Many members of the community have the desire to push the game, which keeps on giving, to its limits.

The listing of [email protected] allows users to join the project more efficiently. Volunteer compute resources are essential to the success of our research, as some elements require high volumes of computing power in order to retrieve results.

As many may have seen in the latest batch of workunits, we have had a series of errors and issues. We believe these to be mostly ironed out.
BOINC is a learning experience for us all. Grid computing technology is very new to us, so there has, of course, been some teething issues.
We ask the community to bear with us as we perfect our development workflows and move to release more projects and exciting news in the coming weeks.

If you missed our previous announcement regarding the record-breaking cactus [email protected] discovered, visit our Twitter:

If you are a BOINC expert, a developer, or otherwise enthusiastic about Minecraft and our project; please join our Discord!
25 Jun 2020, 15:59:18 UTC · Discuss

We are live
The beta period has ended! We are happy with the progress so far, thanks to all who contributed during this phase of the project.

We have now pushed over 1.2 million work units for processing as part of the cactus finding project.
This is following the success of locating world seeds for cactuses up to 21 blocks tall, 2 blocks higher than the existing record.

You may notice a new application, panorama; this is attempting to locate the world seed which was used for the panorama screenshot used in the Minecraft main menu.

There are plenty more applications and work units to come. Thank you all once again for taking part in this adventure.
21 Jun 2020, 2:42:22 UTC · Discuss

Beta testing now live
The [email protected] server is now open for beta-testing.

Kaktwoos is the first application in test with several thousand work units available for processing.
Currently, this application only supports Windows 64-bit clients with an Nvidia GPU, this will be expanded to cover the majority of other platforms soon.

Kaktwoos uses chunk seed generation to find cactus stacks of 20 blocks or higher by locating neighbouring chunk seeds which overlap with the input chunk seed.
Cactus stacks generate when two overlapping chunk seeds generate a cactus on the same x, y coordinate.
The input seeds for Kaktwoos were generated by scanning all 281.7 trillion possible chunk seeds for cactuses of 10 blocks or higher. This yielded 42,497 seeds which were algorithmically reduced to a smaller sample (used as the input for Kaktwoos) by scoring each for the likeliness to collide with another cactus.

During beta testing, any issued credits will be cleared as the beta period ends, this is to ensure fairness once we are out of beta-testing.
Any work unit time estimates are inaccurate as we have not specified the number of floating-point operations required for work unit runtime during this stage of testing.

Computation errors during this stage are expected and should be ignored. We kindly ask you to leave your clients running for as long as possible whenever idle to allow us to take full advantage of this beta test.
15 Jun 2020, 3:00:31 UTC · Discuss

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