New Windows client/core development (SMP and classic clients)

The Windows SMP client is a pretty important new client for us for two
reasons.  First, multi-core CPUs are becoming more and more common, and
second, Windows clients are the most common in FAH by far.  The SMP
client appears to be working quite well on linux and OSX, and this is
due to the fact that these machines are unix-based, and so multicore
libraries (eg MPI) are much more robust on these platforms.  The issues
we’ve been seeing on Windows can be directly attributed to MPI issues.  We’re the first distributed computing platform to roll out MPI calculations (typically reserved for supercomputers), so we are dealing with some major growing pains issues there.

To help fix this, Peter Kasson has been working hard on a new approach to improve the Windows SMP core stability.  The trick was to use an improved MPI library.  So far, it looks like it is indeed a significant improvement, but we’re still testing it to be sure.   If the Windows SMP core is not working well for you, we hope that the new fixes will help.   

For now, if the SMP client isn’t working well for you, one can always run multiple regular Windows clients and still make major contributions to FAH (and lots of extra points than a single client!).  You can see more info on our Windows console FAQ.

Finally, we’re working to reintegrate and revamp our Windows clients in general.  We’ve revamped the graphics, made it much more stable (and better looking), and we’ve set up a single client to serve as both regular and SMP clients (with GPU functionality on the way).  We’re excited about these new developments and donors will be seeing these advances in the next few weeks, if all goes well in our beta tests.