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Old 01-06-18, 02:58 AM   #21
NiHaoMike
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Time for a pretty big status update. The investment I made to have a working high N Scrypt ASIC miner early was well worth it, even after considering "losing" half the hashrate. One of the high N Scrypt coins passed its halving point (that's when the reward for solving the block is cut in half), so a lot of miners jumped to other high N Scrypt coins including one that was making a huge profit on my ASIC. The difficulty was up nearly 8 times compared to last month, which was already high enough to obsolete "Hammingboost". In short, one month of mining back then is worth 8 months of mining now if difficulty doesn't increase further, which it probably will. The "intercept point" where having all the hashrate but a month late (estimate) vs. having half the hashrate early then pushes out further than I would care for, so I call it a big win. And that doesn't even consider that the time I would have spent figuring out how to make it work is definitely worth something, or the fact that the "lost" hashrate is not really lost.

I also used the solar panel along with the 4 Snapdragon 410s and part of the ASIC to make the world a better place. Yes, the positive impact of just one solar panel was felt around the world!
https://twitter.com/RealSexyCyborg/s...36250454163458
One side effect is that my friend Allie Moore became really jealous of what I'm doing with alternative energy. The "green war" that was going on between her and I has officially concluded, but I'll broadcast to the world that I will still help her set up her own solar power system if she wants and also try to make her (somewhat) famous if she wants. And despite her knowledge of biology, she's seemingly mystified (and probably also jealous!) at how Naomi can eat so much and be so skinny, but that's a discussion for another time...

My cousin was also really happy to hear that I did something significant with my cryptocurrency mining. Also got a lot of likes from many of my friends.

"When I used the power of the sun to solve complex math problems, the world became a better place. When we use the power of the sun to solve even more problems, the world would become an even better place."

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Old 02-03-18, 12:53 PM   #22
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Found this interesting article about Bitcoin mining:
http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~mbtaylor/pap...puter_2017.pdf
Many of the basic concepts also apply to altcoin mining, except altcoins generally use some other proof of work algorithm and have somewhat different rules on how they operate.
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Old 04-10-18, 12:27 AM   #23
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Status update time again! The most profitable coin I was mining with the Jameson Hasher ASIC turns out to have jumped in difficulty because a "mass produced" ASIC - the Kesha 3+ - was able to mine it. Even the investors caught themselves out because one of those ASIC boxes costs a bit more than a grand and might make about $150/month at current difficulty. Now they're trying to hype up the coin by bragging how much they're making while hiding how much they paid to get there.

I could have actually used my bit of fame to hype up another coin but it would be a one shot deal if it even works. And the risk of fallout from angry investors having a negative impact on my best friend is not worth it - my friendship is worth more than a few tens of bucks.

I did get a new mining device - a Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA board with USB 3 expansion. I don't know any friends who have the knowledge to work on FPGAs and have free time to help me, so I'm on my own. I was able to grab a few bits of code online and get it mining pretty easily. The profitability - $5/month or so for a $100 board - is not very good but that's not the full story. The nice part about FPGAs is that they can be used for a lot of other things.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look inside the Verilog code that makes it all work. To say it's complicated is a huge understatement. And what's in the picture is less than 1/100th of the code!


And the Snapdragons are back to doing what they like to do - using their power for good. Along with part of the ASIC (because one of the coins it mines does not readily convert to a form my best friend can use) and the new FPGA. All of those except the FPGA have paid for themselves long ago. Actually, thinking beyond just money, the FPGA already paid for itself. "A good engineer uses technology to help him/herself. A great engineer uses technology to help others who really need it."


So what did I provide to my family with all that? A feeling of happiness because not only am I learning about technology and having fun in the process, I'm using it to make the world a better place. I think about all the events that led me up to now. The two most significant ones are when my dad gave me an electronics kit for my birthday and the time an intern got me into crypto mining.

And I conclude this update with a picture of my ASIC board, the Raspberry Pi that manages it, and an old router used to work around a bug in the ASIC. (Short description: broadcast packets are not properly handled by the network controller and direct memory access controller, causing a huge loss of performance on busy networks.)
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Last edited by NiHaoMike; 06-08-18 at 11:26 PM.. Reason: fix images
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Old 04-10-18, 03:20 PM   #24
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I don't know the back story but her plight seems to me to be her own doing.

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Old 04-10-18, 09:04 PM   #25
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From my understanding, the magazine refused to allow her to look over the article before release to public, she got misrepresented in some embarrassing/hurtful way, and the result was a storm. (Compare that to how Rinoa Super-Genius does content about others - she specifically lets the subject review the content before public release to prevent that kind of problem.)

I realize that many reading are curious exactly what a FPGA is. It is a chip with a large number of programmable gates, hence its name - Field Programmable Gate Array. Easiest way to think of it is more or less a digital breadboard on a chip. One use that is very relevant to this site is that FPGAs are well suited for generating the waveforms used to operate motor inverters (VFDs). That's especially true when implementing modulation schemes more advanced than plain PWM such as Delta Sigma.
fpga4fun.com - FPGAs - What are they?

For crypto mining, FPGAs tend to do better than CPUs and GPUs because they can be "wired" to compute the hash function as opposed to running a sequence of instructions that together compute the hash function. ASICs do better still because the routing and configuration parts of a FPGA use a significant amount of power and space, but ASICs are only available for some algorithms because they're really expensive to design. And there's a lot of effort being put into new cryptocurrencies to make them not minable on existing ASICs.

It's also interesting to note that I solved a paradox in crypto mining. If a better way to mine a coin is shared with the public, everyone jumps on board causing the difficulty to rise and efficiency to fall. Hence sharing a better way to mine is generally not helpful. The most profitable/energy efficient coins tend to be pretty small/unknown with the coiners being very secretive and selfish about what they do, with any sharing being restricted to a small community. So by sharing the mining profits, I (and other coiners) still get to mine efficiently while I contribute something to the community other than increased mining difficulty. And as an Eta Kappa Nu (the honor society of the IEEE) member, I get to show my friends how I live up to the IEEE slogan "advancing technology for humanity".
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Old 06-09-18, 12:02 AM   #26
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I made an unexpected breakthrough in FPGA mining, that I don't think actually involves the efficiency of the FPGA in itself. Combining a bit of hacked code on the PC with some downloaded code on the FPGA, I found a coin that it apparently mines really well. Quite a bit more profit than what it should theoretically make - on the order of $20/month as opposed to $7/month.

My theory of what's going on has to do with how the nonces are incremented. On the CPU version of the mining code, the nonce has a fixed portion to take advantage of SIMD and the variable portion is simply incremented each round because that's very fast to do on a CPU. Addition is relatively slow/complex on a FPGA (propagating the carry signals slows things down) so a LFSR (Linear Feedback Shift Register) is used instead. The nonces "jump around" in a seemingly random order instead of incrementing sequentially like the CPU version does, so the winning nonces are scattered over a wide range. That confuses the accounting code for the pool server so it gives a bigger share of the reward than it should.

I have no idea how long this "FPGA boost" trick would last, but I'm not going to detune my FPGA just to make it "right". Instead, I'll only take the share I should be getting and giving the rest to my best friend who will effectively share it with the whole world.

Here's a little excerpt of the Verilog code for the LFSR:
Code:
reg nonce [32:0];
always @ (posedge clk) begin
  if(rst) begin
    nonce <= 1;
  end
  else begin
    nonce <= nonce * 2 + (nonce[32] ^ nonce[19]);
  end
end
You'll note something very important - that the reset signal initializes the nonce register to 1. The reason is because if it's initialized to 0, it would never work!

My family is really happy to see me learn about FPGAs because that's a big growing field in modern electronics.

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