Potential Markets for Plura

As mentioned in our last post, we’re focusing on customer acquisition for the start of 2009.  To give you an idea of what types of customers we’re looking at, I thought I would give a quick rundown of what we’re currently working on or exploring:

Web-scale analysis: Applications that utilize the bandwidth on our nodes fit Plura very well.  This is a feature of Plura that tends to get glossed over, but is probably the coolest thing we can provide.  On top of the compute power our nodes have, they also have their own bandwidth.  Any application that uses this bandwidth gets access to thousands of separate Internet connections, which can be used to access the web in a myriad of ways.  One of our sister companies, Computational Crawling, is developing a platform that takes advantage of this feature.

Financial modeling: Although a lot of financial algorithmic trading relies on low latency, there are also a wide array of possibilities for more robust modeling.  For example, some modelers utilize genetic algorithms to create sophisticated models.  Such techniques fit well on Plura due to the low data:compute time ratio inherent to these algorithms.  One of our customers is developing such a package.

Bioinformatics: We’re really interested in exploring bioinformatics more.  Based on some brief research, there seems to be a lot of applications in this field that utilize parallel computing.  In particular, we’ve looked at BLAST and similar algorithms.  It appears that the BLAST algorithm can be broken into parallel components.  Unfortunately we haven’t looked at this field enough to know for sure, but it’s something we may consider in the future.

Oil and Gas Exploration: While some seismic analysis algorithms will not work on Plura, there are some that will, such as Kirchhoff migrations.  Developing a seismic implementation in Plura will take a good bit of work, but is a definite possibility.

In general, any application that uses a significant amount of compute time relative the data transferred or any application that can is embarassingly parallel will work very well on Plura.  We’ve mentioned just a few potential industries that can utilize Plura, but there are several more on top of these.  We’ll be looking for customers in one or more of these sectors in the coming year.


9 Responses to “Potential Markets for Plura”

  1. 1 Mike March 1, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

  2. 2 Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Hey, this is great for the websites who want to make a few bucks off their visitors, but have you stopped and thought about the people whose computers are being hijacked by your software? They visit some random website, then suddenly their computer gets slower because you guys are stealing its usage.

    Not to mention this is costing them money: an Intel Core 2 Duo runs at 65 watts, so say you’re using 1 core, and let’s assume normally their computer would be in power saving mode 16 hours a day, and let’s assume a price per kilowatt of ten cents, then your program is costing the user over $15 in electricity to make that website $2.60.

    You really ought to inform people that you’re running this program on their systems and give them the opportunity to opt out. Without doing so, you’re no better than all the other hackers out there.

  3. 3 Shion Deysarkar May 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

    The end-user experience is very important to us, and we’ve taken several steps to make the impact of Plura on the end-user as little as possible. For example..

    1. Affiliates must agree to disclose their use of Plura. Hiding Plura is a violation of the affiliate agreement.

    2. We provide affiliates with several tools to control Plura’s use. They can control the CPU utilization, dynamically stop and start Plura, and so on.

    3. Plura runs at the lowest priority possible, meaning that other processes on your computer take precedence.

    We encourage affiliates to be very conscious of their users. That said, we do not actively “police” them, as we feel that it’s in their best interest to do whatever they need to keep their users happy.

    You’re correct in pointing out that Plura can result in additional electricity usage. However, your calculation is not entirely correct. If the computer went into sleep mode, then Plura would not be able to run, so no additional costs would be incurred. When comparing the incremental electric cost, Plura incurs somewhere on the order of $0.10 additional cost above $2.60/month (exact calculations are difficult due to varying power demand by chips and kWH rates).

    Finally, I should point out that Plura is best-suited for websites and applications that are looking for an additional source of revenue and cannot be fully supported by ads, etc. In such cases, Plura provides a way for these services to be profitable and sustainable, and thus allows end-users to keep enjoying the service.

  4. 4 Shion Deysarkar May 14, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Sorry – a quick correction. We don’t run with low-priority threads, as we’ve found that there is no effect on Windows (the vast majority of computers running Plura use Windows). It’s possible that thread prioritization would have an effect on *nix systems.

    We welcome more input on this issue.

  5. 5 Anonymous May 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks for the response, Shion. I have to admit I was not expecting you to be quite so forthcoming. I am interested in how you arrived at the figure of $0.10 per month for energy usage. Are you able to share any more detail on that? If the computer went into sleep mode, wouldn’t that mean the website wouldn’t be paid for that time? I assumed the $2.60/month was for active CPU time, and so I did my calculations for one month of CPU time, regardless of the actual calendar time required to reach that one month. $0.10, assuming ten cents per kilowatt-hour for arithmetical convenience, means one kilowatt-hour consumed over 30 days (720 hours) or a difference of only 1.39 watts between idle and load, which seems far too low on a modern CPU. These are very rough estimates, so I’d certainly appreciate if you could provide more detail on your estimates of the power consumption of your software.

  6. 6 Shion Deysarkar May 15, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I did this calculation almost a year ago, so unfortunately I don’t have exact details. That said, I think the difference in the calculations is coming from what we consider ‘idle’. It seems like that when you say ‘idle’, you mean a near zero-load state, which I consider ‘hibernation’ (i.e., non-system processes aren’t running, etc.).

    In a hibernation state, Plura will not be running, as the system will kill the Java process. However, in an idle state (i.e., applications like your browser are still running), Plura will run. But – Plura only results in a small additional load.

    Yes, the website is not paid for time if the computer goes into sleep mode and Plura stops.

  7. 7 Shion Deysarkar May 15, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I am interested in measuring the actual increase in load that Plura generates. Just haven’t got myself over to the store to pick up a volt meter yet 🙂

  8. 8 Mac June 18, 2009 at 7:37 am

    The anonymous poster misunderstands the manufacturers published CPU thermal design point (TDP) specification. The Core 2 Duo does have a 65W TDP rating, but that’s just a maximum design limit under peak load (e.g. at 65W that processor is approaching the physical failure point). It does not relate to any particular power consumption over time, nor does it tell you much about power consumption during regular usage patterns (except perhaps as a vague comparison factor against other processors) so it is simply impossible to extrapolate any useful kilowatt-hour consumption data from that figure.

    The anonymous poster is also assuming the user navigates to this hypothetical page and leaves it open permanently, which isn’t remotely typical of website usage patterns.

  9. 9 Emerald February 23, 2014 at 12:20 am

    m thinking of doing a series of articles in December similar to’. , this application is also free and includes the meal-tracking features.

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