POLL: Should Moo! Wrapper be Removed from the Whitelist?

in #gridcoin4 years ago (edited)

There has been significant debate on Reddit and IRC recently on whether the Moo! Wrapper project should continue to be on the Gridcoin Whitelist. Since then, a poll has been conjured into existence by @tomasbrod to allow the community to voice their opinions. Before you vote though, lets take a moment to inform ourselves of what the project actually does.

The aim of Moo! Wrapper is to allow BOINC clients to take part in the RC5 challenge. Effectively, this challenge is the decryption of three messages, one encrypted with a 56-bit key, another with a 64-bit key, and a final one with a 72-bit key.

On October 19, 1997 the correct key was found for the 56-bit secret-key challenge, taking a total of 250 days to locate. This was followed on July 14, 2002 when the 64-bit secret-key challenge was cracked, taking a total of 1757 days. Since December 2002, the Moo! Wrapper project has been working exclusively on the 72-bit, final challenge. The messages follow:

RC5-56: 'The unknown message is: It's time to move to a longer key length'
RC5-64: 'The unknown message is: Some things are better left unread'
RC5-72: ??? (in progress)


Now, I'd like to point out that this project is not trying to be clever in solving these problems. From the website of the RC5 challenge:

We depend heavily (entirely) on the participation of people like yourself, as we intend to solve this project via the use of brute force, trying every possible key there is.

This brings us to the parallels draw between Moo! Wrapper and [email protected], the latter of which decrypts remaining WWII Enigma messages. The [email protected] project uses a hill climbing algorithm to vastly reduce the time needed to decrypt messages, which is also being actively tested. As such, that project is working on new decryption techniques, and is decrypting messages that could be of actual interest. An argument could certainly be made that [email protected] is not particularly useful in the grand scheme of things, but at least it has some interesting results?


So what happens when Moo! Wrapper's RC-72 message is solved?

In May 2007, the original creator of the challenge (RSA Labs) announced it would be discontinued. The prize is now privately sponsored and consists of:

$1000 to the winner
$1000 to the winner's team (or to the winner if not on a team)
$6000 to a non-profit organization chosen by all participants
$2000 to distributed.net for building the network and supplying the code

Before you get too excited about that $1000 prize though, here is the project's progress summary:

To be honest, I would rather see that compute put to use somewhere useful.


The poll will be closing February 9th, and is currently standing as reported below by gridcoinstats.eu here:

To vote, fully unlock your wallet. This means that if you have it unlocked for staking, you need to lock your wallet again, and unlock with the 'unlock for staking only' checkbox unchecked. Once unlocked, navigate to your Debug Console and use one of the following commands:

Yes - Remove Moo! Wrapper
execute vote whitelist:_remove_moo_wrapper_project Remove_project

No - Keep Moo! Wrapper
execute vote whitelist:_remove_moo_wrapper_project Keep_project

Abstain
execute vote whitelist:_remove_moo_wrapper_project Abstain

Need More Information
execute vote whitelist:_remove_moo_wrapper_project Need_more_information

Note that voting costs just under 0.0025 GRC per vote in network fees.


I run a Steem witness! Please vote for gridcoin.science!


dutch.gif

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I'm just imagining the sizable compute power that would be redirected to scientifically useful projects if we vote it out. I want to stress, however, that this opinion is based on the fact that Moo! Wrapper has 0.00000 ... (ad infinitum) value from an intellectual point of view. The same is NOT true of other projects like Amicable or PrimeGrid, which, though not application oriented, are still exploring unknown regions of mathematics with the potential to lead to important insights/applications down the road.

While I'm here I'd also like to point out one of the perks of owning Gridcoin -- increased weight in voting projects in/out of the whitelist!

Gridcoin = influence over which science is prioritized. Kind of neat.

Having influence over which science is prioritized is a fairly scary concept to me.

We have seen almost every system where there are influencers degrade into ways to self-promote or act for self-benefit (symptoms of centralization). The grant system is one example for science. Universities are others.

If we build a processes where Gridcoin is truly "of the people", this is different. But that system is difficult to build and does not exist right now.

I imagine a system where there are parameters that are very clearly defined. Security and WU distribution are a few of these parameters that could be included. We could, as a group, decide what projects we are willing to reward, however this will limit future possibilities -- Superblocks can be used for more than BOINC!

As an off the cuff example for an alternative - What if people spoke with their IPP: if a project is worked on by people it is deemed valuable by the gridcoin community. What if instead of votes, there was a crowd-source type structure where once a project obtained a certain number of FLOPS directed at it by the GridcoinNetwork, it was whitelisted and given Magnitude. How that magnitude is distributed could but a further subject of discussion.

I respectfully disagree with your view of how owning GRC is a good thing. If we build that into a system, major players (science and research companies and institutions) might be able to buy our system. Personally, I am open to them using our system, but I would rather see as many people as possible making the calls and not a few wealthy individuals.

The more people making the calls the more people that must be informed. The more people that must be informed the more education that exists in the network. The more education throughout the network, the better decisions the network is likely to make.

Back to the question of what we crunch. I have two questions for you:

Can you define what constitutes a "scientifically useful project" without using an example?

Can you present an example where a central entity with influence over a money system (or any system, like a system of science) does not lead to extreme centralization of that entity and extreme control over that system?

This is part of a larger discussion that we probably can leave for later in a different thread. I will, however, say a few things.

The first is that 'decentralization' does not imply 'equal distribution of power'. It just means that there are enough independent stakeholders that there is no single authority or colluding oligarchy. Both these concepts are important, but the 'decentralized' aspect is what's key. I don't want to conflate the two. In particular, power disparity by itself does not threaten decentralization; in fact, I think moderate levels of power disparity are expected and beneficial in distributed networks. Thus, I'm just not convinced that allowing some influence to be directly bought will lead to such dire consequences.

I don't think it's an argument against the 'coin = influence' scheme to say the entire Gridcoin network could be bought. Ultimately, it remains a fact that pretty much any cryptocurrency can be bought out, whether by building an enormous mining operation or purchasing a majority of the coin supply. What blockchain does it make it really expensive for anyone to do so. I'm not sure blockchain by itself is able to provide 100% security against this.

One concrete thing we can do is continue to have magnitude carry a significant voting weight. That way, anyone who wants to dominate the network's voting will have to BOTH buy a huge coin stake AND assemble an enormous mining infrastructure. Besides making centralization much more difficult, this should combat [extreme] power disparity as well (c.f. the 'pareto distribution problem' in PoS).

But giving the coins themselves a voting weight is important too. This gives them a concrete unit of value -- a unit of 'influence' in the network, and incentivizes people to buy and hold. In fact, this isn't a new idea; Steemit works in precisely this way. So for now I'll stand behind the idea.

As for your two questions:

  1. Something is scientifically useful if it contributes to knowledge. 'Knowledge' here refers to nontrivial, objective facts which can be verified empirically by others.

  2. I'm not sure I understand this question. A central entity with its own money system is by nature centralized and controlling, is it not? As I argued above, I don't think the 'coin = influence' scheme seriously jeopardizes the decentralization of Gridcoin.

I've been thinking about your definition of of useful science and I can't get away from it.

"Triviality" is a measure of value. Value is a measure of opinion. Now we're back at the beginning. I don't think "useful science" can be objectively defined.

If this is the case -- I invite challenge on the subject -- but if this the case, the question becomes: do we want to impose our values on everyone else? I can think of arguments for both sides of the discussion and am very much looking forward to when we as a community get to delve into this issue in a more structured and objective way (without the fate of a project on the line).

Yeah, I see what you're saying. Words are hard.. (why I've never been a fan of philosophy..)

I suppose one example of triviality is something that could easily be inferred from what we already know. moo! wrapper falls under this category. One can think of other instances, e.g. calculating as many digits of Pi as possible "just to check" that its decimal representation doesn't terminate.

Checking the digits of pi is crucial!

So is the testing that collatz conjecture is in fact true!

So is SETI!

etc.

The thing about pi is we can prove its decimal expansion never terminates. On the other hand, there is currently no proof that the Collatz sequence always reaches 1 no matter the starting n, nor is there compelling evidence ET doesn't exist out there.

Learned a lot from this conversation. Looking forward to more = )

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The same is NOT true of other projects like Amicable or PrimeGrid, which, though not application oriented, are still exploring unknown regions of mathematics with the potential to lead to important insights/applications down the road.

This is the key point people pushing the 'slippery slope' narrative forget. There is no slope, just a hard boundary between 'there could be potentially useful outputs' and 'there is zero chance for useful outputs'.

I think keeping projects which do nothing is a slippery slope if anything. If we have no requirements on project results then there is a whole armada of projects we could spin up and try to get whitelisted.

Personally whether Moo is dewhitelisted or not will not affect me so I have no 'axe to grind'..

However, I believe that it will affect many users who do not have GPUs capable of working on other GPU based projects ..

We do have to cater to users who have older GPUs and it is selfish and unreasonable to override others requirements ..

Are we looking at selective participation to the detriment of users with older or less powerful systems or are we going to continue to be objective about this and allow full and equal participation?

Perhaps with a little initiative ( say talking to them ) we can get Moo to create another OpenCl project that the community as a whole considers more useful. That way less fortunate users may also participate in a 'useful' project ..

"SCIENTIA HUMANA LIBERTAS"

boinc
Courtesy of @joshoeah

If it works on moo, it works on Amicable. Or in seti, but not many people would be interested on that.

First let me suggest that these conversations are a benefit overall: the more we question what science is and what we are crunching, the more everyone learns! Continuity of Education.

Now,

I think we need to build a process to add/remove projects. In the meantime, we can't go around voting to remove projects we think do nothing based on whims. What we want to include in the GRC reward system is a very serious and complex conversation that, if taking place 24/7/365 can distract us from the very real things we need to do. Things that will make this process so much smoother moving forward, such as defined poll parameters and a clearer voting structure and UI and perhaps a treasury system.

A major part of this conversation is that it seems to have come out of nowhere and the dialogue has been less than constructive. A process lets people prepare for the conversation and formulate points for both sides without getting egos and emotions involved (as much).

I have read and heard many foundations to some wonderful arguments both for and against Moo! and similar projects.

For now, I will vote to keep the project. I do this confidently as there are several proposals and serious conversations in development regarding adding and removing projects to/from the whitelist. Additionally, I expect that the conversation around what type of work we want to reward with GRC will grow as we grow as a community and network.

Interested parties should follow and constructively contribute to:

https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Tasks/issues/194

and

https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Tasks/issues/201

I appreciate the thoughts. I agree a more streamlined approach is a good idea.

Correct me if I'm wrong but Imo it doesn't fit the general purpose nor any useful or scientific advancement.

So I voted yes.

From where I stand, yes, Moo! Wrapper yields zero usefulness as a research project.

Do you consider OGR-28 not useful either?

No - I would argue that has at least a possibility to be useful in future, much like looking for amicable numbers.

EDIT: OGR-28 is not part of Moo! Wrapper though.

You never know what discoveries doing seemingly useless things will bring. We need to have a conversation about whether we want only direct/clear product research.

While that is a valid argument for a project like Amicable Numbers (which are seemingly useless, but may have use later), I do not think it is valid for brute forcing a known encrypted message.

Kinda useless for Scientific Purposes. But for engeneering and security this will serve some purpose. Like real data on how long does it take to break a code.

I mean, we can already predict that before even beginning the effort. It is known how many keys need to be tried, and how fast given hardware could cycle through all of those. Therefore, we are left with a statistical chance to break the encryption in any given time X.

Thanks for the article @dutch.

Although I'm not a RC-72 fan either, Moo! Wrapper is also trying to find the shortest Golomb Ruler 28 which is really useful.

Besides, Moo! Wrappper as directly contributed in finding OGR-25, OGR-26 and OGR-27 which are the 3 largest Golomb Rulers known to mankind.

I was under the impression that the link between those projects is distributed.net, as per the Moo! Wrapper website:

Note that we have intentionally left Distributed.net OGR-project out of scope since you can already join that project at [email protected]

I just went through distributed.net stats in detail and I think you are right.

[email protected] BOINC Team = Moo!Wapper (crunching RC-72 only)
[email protected] BOINC wrapper Team = [email protected] (crunching OGR-28 only)

Thank you clarifying and based on this I would consider Moo!Wapper not useful either.

I have posted a rebuttle to the claim this project is not useful here:

https://steemit.com/gridcoin/@guk/defending-moo-wrapper-and-distributed-net

Thank you for all this information. Gridcoin is truly a thing to follow and learn more about. Just until now I was knowing only the "packaging" or its "shell". Now I'm interested in reading more and learning it's core. I'll keep an eye on your content.

Stupid question: how are projects actually removed/added to the whitelist? Does the client automatically look at the poll results and act accordingly? Otherwise, wouldn't a single individual have to do it?

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Coins mentioned in post:

CoinPrice (USD)📈 24h📉 7d
ENGEnigma4.969$-1.74%-22.16%
GRCGridCoin0.111$5.79%-33.44%
RCRussiaCoin2.780$6.27%13.11%
STEEMSteem5.716$6.32%-6.73%

Highly irrelevant and inaccurate comment. Only coin mentioned is GRC, and it's not the main part of the topic either.

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