Archive Page 3

Java getting faster = Plura getting better

Just read this article on Techcrunch:

According to the article:

Update 10 comes with two major consumer-facing improvements: a smaller footprint and enhanced speed.

This is great news for Plura, because it means 2 things:

  1. Affiliates should see a boost in # of WUs, and thus higher payments, with the new release.
  2. Customers should be able to complete computations faster.

Also interesting is Sun’s claim that 91% of PCs have Java on them.  We estimated that percentage to be much lower, which had us looking into Flash as an alternate platform for the client.  It’s pretty clear that Java is the way to go for us right now (we’ll have to see how fast Silverlight is adopted and if Adobe ever decides to make Flash multi-threaded…).


Affiliate Showcase: Handdrawngames

We really appreciate the help our affiliates provide by connecting us to a lot of computing power.  In return, we thought it would be a good idea to showcase some of them.  Our first showcase is on Handdrawngames, makers of the addictively-fun Desktop Tower Defense.

In DTD, players have to prevent creeps from reaching opposite ends of the grid.  To do this, they can build mazes out of a variety of towers.  Each time a creep is killed, the player gets some more money to build up the maze.  If 20 creeps get through, it’s game over.  There are different game types built in, such as survival, tower restrictions, and the intensely-challenging “The 100”.

Being a long-time gamer myself, I was impressed at how DTD managed to create incredibly deep gameplay out of a simple concept.  I was also impressed at how I managed to waste 5 hours at work playing the game the first time I tried it out…

Handdrawngames was one of our first affiliates to provide us a significant amount of computing power.  The site brings in the equivalent of almost 200 full-time computers for Plura, which is great.  Handdrawngames gets an additional revenue source from us, and our customers don’t have to spend over $250,000 setting up a 200-node cluster.  A win-win for everyone 😀

Welcome to Plura’s blog!

Welcome to Plura’s blog!  For those of you that don’t know, Plura Processing a completely new platform for distributed computing.

  • Traditional distributed computing has a lot of problems, including:
  • You need to download and install a client application
  • For each node added to the network, a person has to get interested, trust, download, and install the client, and then keep the client running (read: overcome a lot of inertia)
  • For each new application, you have to go through a whole new iteration of code rewrite and node acquisition
  • Most solutions require long-running, dedicated clients

Because of these problems, distributed computing has had a tough time really making an impact in the high-performance computing (HPC) world.  But the good news is that now Plura is here, and we solve these problems!

  • Plura runs through web-enabled applications, like your web browser.  Instead of installing a separate client, Plura runs through a lightweight applet when you visit one of our affiliate’s websites
  • We work with affiliates instead of individuals.  Affiliates agree to serve or run Plura through their website or application.  Each of their user’s become nodes for Plura.  So instead of growing 1 node at a time, we grow 1000 nodes at a time.
  • Plura can handle computing for many different applications at once.  We’re basically a big computing gateway.
  • Our solutions produces compute results on the order of seconds or minutes, which means we don’t need nodes to stay alive for every long.

One of the best features of Plura is how secure and safe it is.  Our applet is Java-based and runs within the Java sandbox security model, which puts a lot of restrictions on what it can do (more info at  Plura runs entirely within memory and doesn’t touch the hard drive at all.  On top of this, affiliates can control how and when Plura is running (even how much of the CPU it uses!).

We’re pretty excited about the stuff we’re doing and hope you are too!  We’re going to use this blog to write about all things Plura-related, including the cool applications using us, showcasing some of our affiliates, talking about some fascinating challenges involved in building Plura, and so on.  Stay tuned!