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May 12 2020 Odroid, Debian 10, openSUSE, Home assistant, Advanced Research Computing, Remscope

Posted on May 14, 2020
( 5 minute read )

Ten people, three cats and a hamster participated at various times and in various ways in our second online meeting.

David reported that he had managed to install the Ubuntu 20.4 Mate image on his Odroid but had encountered various problems and was now awaiting the Arch ARM image.

Nick commented that he been able to install and run Debian 10 xfce without any problems.

John reported that just over 150 people from the Far East to the US joined the openSUSE Virtual Summit on 1 May 2020. A wide range of subjects had been offered including:

David mentioned the problems he had had clearing up the resin after the 3D printing last time; so he has not done any more so far.

Brian mentioned that he is running Home assistant on a Raspberry Pi to monitor his IoT. David commented that the Raspberry Pi heats up, whereas the Odroid doesn’t, and Kriss demonstrated a Raspberry Pi with a tiny screen and a joystick.

Nick spoke about working with a small new team for the past six months at Advanced Research Computing at Leeds University where they have a new HPC with 5000 cores to support things like AI, data analysis, gene matching. They use 3GW, or £3,000 a day, of electricity and have Airedale cooling systems though some heat goes into heat pipes round the building. With systems like this, there is always a compromise between spreading the kit out and the additional cabling that requires.

They have mostly RedHat; any researcher can log in and use it and a time allocator allocates resources; for example, each genome requires 1TB of data.

It is mostly used by researchers working from desktops; some are running Python scripts to solve a particular problem and need help to program because they are not programmers.

After sharing the hamster and talking about some of its tricks,
Bernie took us to the Remscope page of his development server to demonstrate the work he was doing for the Astronomy Centre robotic telescope to help people locate and track heavenly objects. It is written in Python using astronomy libraries; some may be written in another language but there is a Python binding for the library and some update themselves to take account of objects whose location changes rapidly, for which he runs a program every week to get the latest data. His programs draw on 36 libraries, not all of which are astronomical libraries but some draw on other libraries. He commented that the maths is not easy; for example, as you narrow down a cone search, it becomes difficult to track because the stars around the target start rotating round it and he needs to compensate for this. He also mentioned that he is using jsDelivr to deliver files from GitHub to his server.

At the moment the Raspberry Pi and the server are both running locally but the Raspberry Pi will eventually be remote using Wireguard; they are still waiting for the wiring of the telescope to be done.

Darren mentioned using quaternions in four dimensions and Kriss explained that you could do most calculations using the first three dimensions.