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SONM releases its alpha: What’s new?

SONM (Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining), your first fog supercomputer designed for general purpose computing from mobile app hosting to DNA analysis, successfully integrated its Discovery algorithm and introduced some other improvements and features, last week. One of its most major improvements is that SONM’s code is now stored entirely on Github, rather than on multiple repositories, which enhances the transparency of the development process and assists in collaboration among the team.

The Discovery Algorithm

The Discovery Algorithm helps miners join the distributed system, without needing direct IP addresses. The Discovery Algorithm is supported by bootstrap nodes (also known as rendezvous nodes) on dedicated servers, whose IP addresses are encoded within the SONM client. This algorithm is built on top of the Whisper Protocol, a secure peer-to-peer communication protocol used in the Ethereum network for DApps, which allows nodes to communicate with one another.

SONM CEO Sergey Ponomarev said:

“We are very excited to launch the Discovery Algorithm, a progressive technology that will enhance the capabilities of the SONM platform. Before the launch of our Discovery Algorithm, miners were required to know the exact IP address of the hub node in the network to manually set up an application, a task, requiring technical skills and time, which could and should be automated. With the Algorithm, however, this process runs automatically, which represents an important step in SONM’s technical development that will significantly improve efficiency.”

Here’s how our video clip describes the Discovery Mechanism process:

  1. A new miner decides which application containers he’d like to run and broadcasts looking for a hub using the Whisper protocol.
  2. Hubs that accept the request inform the miner of their status, whereupon the miner generates a list of available hubs.
  3. The built-in filtration system selects and arranges the hubs according to how well they meet the miner’s needs, while the whitelist algorithm trashes malicious requests.
  4. The miner applies the whitelist algorithm to his document and receives a list of hubs most suitable for connection.
  5. The miner then asks for a connection to the hubs, gets the data needed for the connection, is connected — and gets down to work.

That’s how Discovery Mechanism helps nodes provide initial configuration information to newly joining peers so they may successfully join the overlay network.

Usability Functions

In addition to the Discovery Algorithm, SONM also improved several key usability functions within the network, including the configuration ability with YAML format configuration files. YAML is a human-readable data serialization language. It is commonly used for configuration files, but could be used in many applications where data is being stored (e.g. debugging output) or transmitted (e.g. document headers). YAML has some advantages over JSON, XML, and INI for configuration purposes, such as easily allowing for comments while preserving its hierarchical structure.

We use YAML for launching nodes within the SONM network. It helps users save their settings to a file without constantly having to put them in the terminal console.

SONM team has implemented a metrics collection system. We have, also, included the ability to restrict resources available to containers inside miner host machines. This feature allows for efficient utilization of resources.

Metrics include the CPU and RAM in the available host OS and the resources that specific docker containers can access or use.

Third, we have integrated a system that restricts resources available to the miner’s application containers (cgroups).

Sergey Ponomarev said:

“These critical updates to the SONM network demonstrate the significant progress that the team has made toward its mission of developing a universal fog supercomputer powered by blockchain. The team is continually working to improve the usability and efficiency of the SONM platform, and remains confident that this will be the first of many developmental breakthroughs that will enhance the functionality of this innovative protocol.”

That’s it for now. For further developments, tune in to SONM’s Github.

Take part in SONM development and launch the elements of the SONM testnet on your computer. Full instructions to join the SONM Alpha Test are available on the website: