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Worst Day Ever November 30, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, physics life.

You thought a thief was what it took to get me down? Naw. ATLAS software will do the trick!

I don’t remember being that frustrated with a computer in years. I’m pretty good at computers – I can usually debug what is going on and bend them to my will. But not lately, it looks like. Either I’m loosing my touch, or things have reached a whole new order of magnitude in complexity.

Here is what I was trying to do: check out some software from the source code repository, make a few minor modifications, compile, and then send the code off to run in a big processing center in the cloud (pathena/panda at BNL). When it works it is a beautiful thing!

I tried to accomplish this thing at three different computing centers around the world: SLAC, LYON, and Marseille. For different reasons it failed at each one – that was what was so frustrating. Each place had its unique problem that was a show stopper. I wasted a whole day.

What can a guy do? Well, it is France, so we went out for a long lunch with wine (where I found out I wasn’t the only one that was having troubles). In the end, however, I went to bed. This morning, at least, at once site, everything worked all the way through. I’m scared to try the other sites…



1. Kevin - November 30, 2007

just one day? I would have less gray hairs and many months of my life back if it weren’t for ATLAS software. Its all about lowering your expectations – these days if I only waste 50% of my day struggling I consider it a victory. I guess if it just worked it wouldn’t be research! But I understand the frustration of wasting your time struggling on things you don’t want to do in the first place while what you wanted to do never gets done

2. Matt B. - November 30, 2007

So what was the actual problem? What changed? Or did you ever find out?

I’ve been using Minuet for an undergraduate research project, so I have an interest in this. Thanks!

3. gordonwatts - November 30, 2007

Thanks Kevin.

Matt — for the 64bit vs 32 bit the problem was the 64 bit libraries weren’t built. That, apparently, is going to take too long, so I switched over to 32 bit.

For the other two problems, one I suspect is grid midleware, and the third is probably my own fault and I messed up some subtle setup operation.

4. MIke M - December 1, 2007

Nice to know the grass/grid isn’t always greener on the other side of the ring. I’m working on a machine to harvest all of the energy I produce over the LHC era as I bang my head on my desk.

5. gordonwatts - December 5, 2007

Mike – that is classic! Fix a good size town’s power problem!

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