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Transcript of discussion between an ASIC designer and several proof-of-work designers from #monero-pow channel on Freenode this morning
[08:07:01] lukminer contains precompiled cn/r math sequences for some blocks: https://lukminer.org/2019/03/09/oh-kay-v4r-here-we-come/ [08:07:11] try that with RandomX :P [08:09:00] tevador: are you ready for some RandomX feedback? it looks like the CNv4 is slowly stabilizing, hashrate comes down... [08:09:07] how does it even make sense to precompile it? [08:09:14] mine 1% faster for 2 minutes? [08:09:35] naturally we think the entire asic-resistance strategy is doomed to fail :) but that's a high-level thing, who knows. people may think it's great. [08:09:49] about RandomX: looks like the cache size was chosen to make it GPU-hard [08:09:56] looking forward to more docs [08:11:38] after initial skimming, I would think it's possible to make a 10x asic for RandomX. But at least for us, we will only make an ASIC if there is not a total ASIC hostility there in the first place. That's better for the secret miners then. [08:13:12] What I propose is this: we are working on an Ethash ASIC right now, and once we have that working, we would invite tevador or whoever wants to come to HK/Shenzhen and we walk you guys through how we would make a RandomX ASIC. You can then process this input in any way you like. Something like that. [08:13:49] unless asics (or other accelerators) re-emerge on XMR faster than expected, it looks like there is a little bit of time before RandomX rollout [08:14:22] 10x in what measure? $/hash or watt/hash? [08:14:46] watt/hash [08:15:19] so you can make 10 times more efficient double precisio FPU? [08:16:02] like I said let's try to be productive. You are having me here, let's work together! [08:16:15] continue with RandomX, publish more docs. that's always helpful. [08:16:37] I'm trying to understand how it's possible at all. Why AMD/Intel are so inefficient at running FP calculations? [08:18:05] midipoet ([email protected]/web/irccloud.com/x-vszshqqxwybvtsjm) has joined #monero-pow [08:18:17] hardware development works the other way round. We start with 1) math then 2) optimization priority 3) hw/sw boundary 4) IP selection 5) physical implementation [08:22:32] This still doesn't explain at which point you get 10x [08:23:07] Weren't you the ones claiming "We can accelerate ProgPoW by a factor of 3x to 8x." ? I find it hard to believe too. [08:30:20] sure [08:30:26] so my idea: first we finish our current chip [08:30:35] from simulation to silicon :) [08:30:40] we love this stuff... we do it anyway [08:30:59] now we have a communication channel, and we don't call each other names immediately anymore: big progress! [08:31:06] you know, we russians have a saying "it was smooth on paper, but they forgot about ravines" [08:31:12] So I need a bit more details [08:31:16] ha ha. good! [08:31:31] that's why I want to avoid to just make claims [08:31:34] let's work [08:31:40] RandomX comes in Sep/Oct, right? [08:31:45] Maybe [08:32:20] We need to audit it first [08:32:31] ok [08:32:59] we don't make chips to prove sw devs that their assumptions about hardware are wrong. especially not if these guys then promptly hardfork and move to the next wrong assumption :) [08:33:10] from the outside, this only means that hw & sw are devaluing each other [08:33:24] neither of us should do this [08:33:47] we are making chips that can hopefully accelerate more crypto ops in the future [08:33:52] signing, verifying, proving, etc. [08:34:02] PoW is just a feature like others [08:34:18] sech1: is it easy for you to come to Hong Kong? (visa-wise) [08:34:20] or difficult? [08:34:33] or are you there sometimes? [08:34:41] It's kind of far away [08:35:13] we are looking forward to more RandomX docs. that's the first step. [08:35:31] I want to avoid that we have some meme "Linzhi says they can accelerate XYZ by factor x" .... "ha ha ha" [08:35:37] right? we don't want that :) [08:35:39] doc is almost finished [08:35:40] What docs do you need? It's described pretty good [08:35:41] so I better say nothing now [08:35:50] we focus on our Ethash chip [08:36:05] then based on that, we are happy to walk interested people through the design and what else it can do [08:36:22] that's a better approach from my view than making claims that are laughed away (rightfully so, because no silicon...) [08:36:37] ethash ASIC is basically a glorified memory controller [08:36:39] sech1: tevador said something more is coming (he just did it again) [08:37:03] yes, some parts of RandomX are not described well [08:37:10] like dataset access logic [08:37:37] RandomX looks like progpow for CPU [08:37:54] yes [08:38:03] it is designed to reflect CPU [08:38:34] so any ASIC for it = CPU in essence [08:39:04] of course there are still some things in regular CPU that can be thrown away for RandomX [08:40:20] uncore parts are not used, but those will use very little power [08:40:37] except for memory controller [08:41:09] I'm just surprised sometimes, ok? let me ask: have you designed or taped out an asic before? isn't it risky to make assumptions about things that are largely unknown? [08:41:23] I would worry [08:41:31] that I get something wrong... [08:41:44] but I also worry like crazy that CNv4 will blow up, where you guys seem to be relaxed [08:42:06] I didn't want to bring up anything RandomX because CNv4 is such a nailbiter... :) [08:42:15] how do you guys know you don't have asics in a week or two? [08:42:38] we don't have experience with ASIC design, but RandomX is simply designed to exactly fit CPU capabilities, which is the best you can do anyways [08:43:09] similar as ProgPoW did with GPUs [08:43:14] some people say they want to do asic-resistance only until the vast majority of coins has been issued [08:43:21] that's at least reasonable [08:43:43] yeah but progpow totally will not work as advertised :) [08:44:08] yeah, I've seen that comment about progpow a few times already [08:44:11] which is no surprise if you know it's just a random sales story to sell a few more GPUs [08:44:13] RandomX is not permanent, we are expecting to switch to ASIC friendly in a few years if possible [08:44:18] yes [08:44:21] that makes sense [08:44:40] linzhi-sonia: how so? will it break or will it be asic-able with decent performance gains? [08:44:41] are you happy with CNv4 so far? [08:45:10] ah, long story. progpow is a masterpiece of deception, let's not get into it here. [08:45:21] if you know chip marketing it makes more sense [08:45:24] linzhi-sonia: So far? lol! a bit early to tell, don't you think? [08:45:35] the diff is coming down [08:45:41] first few hours looked scary [08:45:43] I remain skeptical: I only see ASICs being reasonable if they are already as ubiquitous as smartphones [08:45:46] yes, so far so good [08:46:01] we kbew the diff would not come down ubtil affter block 75 [08:46:10] yes [08:46:22] but first few hours it looks like only 5% hashrate left [08:46:27] looked [08:46:29] now it's better [08:46:51] the next worry is: when will "unexplainable" hashrate come back? [08:47:00] you hope 2-3 months? more? [08:47:05] so give it another couple of days. will probably overshoot to the downside, and then rise a bit as miners get updated and return [08:47:22] 3 months minimum turnaround, yes [08:47:28] nah [08:47:36] don't underestimate asicmakers :) [08:47:54] you guys don't get #1 priority on chip fabs [08:47:56] 3 months = 90 days. do you know what is happening in those 90 days exactly? I'm pretty sure you don't. same thing as before. [08:48:13] we don't do any secret chips btw [08:48:21] 3 months assumes they had a complete design ready to go, and added the last minute change in 1 day [08:48:24] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked? [08:48:27] innosilicon? [08:48:34] hyc: no no, and no. :) [08:48:44] hyc: have you designed or taped out a chip before? [08:48:51] yes, many years ago [08:49:10] then you should know that 90 days is not a fixed number [08:49:35] sure, but like I said, other makers have greater demand [08:49:35] especially not if you can prepare, if you just have to modify something, or you have more programmability in the chip than some people assume [08:50:07] we are chipmakers, we would never dare to do what you guys are doing with CNv4 :) but maybe that just means you are cooler! [08:50:07] and yes, programmability makes some aspect of turnaround easier [08:50:10] all fine [08:50:10] I hope it works! [08:50:28] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked? [08:50:29] inno? [08:50:41] we suspect so, but have no evidence [08:50:44] maybe we can try to find them, but we cannot spend too much time on this [08:50:53] it's probably not so much of a secret [08:51:01] why should it be, right? [08:51:10] devs want this cat-and-mouse game? devs get it... [08:51:35] there was one leak saying it's innosilicon [08:51:36] so you think 3 months, ok [08:51:43] inno is cool [08:51:46] good team [08:51:49] IP design house [08:51:54] in Wuhan [08:52:06] they send their people to conferences with fake biz cards :) [08:52:19] pretending to be other companies? [08:52:26] sure [08:52:28] ha ha [08:52:39] so when we see them, we look at whatever card they carry and laugh :) [08:52:52] they are perfectly suited for secret mining games [08:52:59] they made at most $6 million in 2 months of mining, so I wonder if it was worth it [08:53:10] yeah. no way to know [08:53:15] but it's good that you calculate! [08:53:24] this is all about cost/benefit [08:53:25] then you also understand - imagine the value of XMR goes up 5x, 10x [08:53:34] that whole "asic resistance" thing will come down like a house of cards [08:53:41] I would imagine they sell immediately [08:53:53] the investor may fully understand the risk [08:53:57] the buyer [08:54:13] it's not healthy, but that's another discussion [08:54:23] so mid-June [08:54:27] let's see [08:54:49] I would be susprised if CNv4 ASICs show up at all [08:54:56] surprised* [08:54:56] why? [08:55:05] is only an economic question [08:55:12] yeah should be interesting. FPGAs will be near their limits as well [08:55:16] unless XMR goes up a lot [08:55:19] no, not *only*. it's also a technology question [08:55:44] you believe CNv4 is "asic resistant"? which feature? [08:55:53] it's not [08:55:59] cnv4 = Rabdomx ? [08:56:03] no [08:56:07] cnv4=cryptinight/r [08:56:11] ah [08:56:18] CNv4 is the one we have now, I think [08:56:21] since yesterday [08:56:30] it's plenty enough resistant for current XMR price [08:56:45] that may be, yes! [08:56:55] I look at daily payouts. XMR = ca. 100k USD / day [08:57:03] it can hold until October, but it's not asic resistant [08:57:23] well, last 24h only 22,442 USD :) [08:57:32] I think 80 h/s per watt ASICs are possible for CNv4 [08:57:38] linzhi-sonia where do you produce your chips? TSMC? [08:57:44] I'm cruious how you would expect to build a randomX ASIC that outperforms ARM cores for efficiency, or Intel cores for raw speed [08:57:48] curious [08:58:01] yes, tsmc [08:58:21] Our team did the world's first bitcoin asic, Avalon [08:58:25] and upcoming 2nd gen Ryzens (64-core EPYC) will be a blast at RandomX [08:58:28] designed and manufactured [08:58:53] still being marketed? [08:59:03] linzhi-sonia: do you understand what xmr wants to achieve, community-wise? [08:59:14] Avalon? as part of Canaan Creative, yes I think so. [08:59:25] there's not much interesting oing on in SHA256 [08:59:29] Inge-: I would think so, but please speak [08:59:32] hyc: yes [09:00:28] linzhi-sonia: i am curious to hear your thoughts. I am fairly new to this space myself... [09:00:51] oh [09:00:56] we are grandpas, and grandmas [09:01:36] yet I have no problem understanding why ASICS are currently reviled. [09:01:48] xmr's main differentiators to, let's say btc, are anonymity and fungibility [09:01:58] I find the client terribly slow btw [09:02:21] and I think the asic-forking since last may is wrong, doesn't create value and doesn't help with the project objectives [09:02:25] which "the client" ? [09:02:52] Monero GUI client maybe [09:03:12] MacOS, yes [09:03:28] What exactly is slow? [09:03:30] linzhi-sonia: I run my own node, and use the CLI and Monerujo. Have not had issues. [09:03:49] staying in sync [09:03:49] linzhi-sonia: decentralization is also a key principle [09:03:56] one that Bitcoin has failed to maintain [09:04:39] hmm [09:05:00] looks fairly decentralized to me. decentralization is the result of 3 goals imo: resilient, trustless, permissionless [09:05:28] don't ask a hardware maker about physical decentralization. that's too ideological. we focus on logical decentralization. [09:06:11] physical decentralization is important. with bulk of bitnoin mining centered on Chinese hydroelectric dams [09:06:19] have you thought about including block data in the PoW? [09:06:41] yes, of course. [09:07:39] is that already in an algo? [09:08:10] hyc: about "centered on chinese hydro" - what is your source? the best paper I know is this: https://coinshares.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Mining-Whitepaper-Final.pdf [09:09:01] linzhi-sonia: do you mine on your ASICs before you sell them? [09:09:13] besides testing of course [09:09:45] that paper puts Chinese btc miners at 60% max [09:10:05] tevador: I think everybody learned that that is not healthy long-term! [09:10:16] because it gives the chipmaker a cost advantage over its own customers [09:10:33] and cost advantage leads to centralization (physical and logical) [09:10:51] you guys should know who finances progpow and why :) [09:11:05] but let's not get into this, ha ha. want to keep the channel civilized. right OhGodAGirl ? :) [09:11:34] tevador: so the answer is no! 100% and definitely no [09:11:54] that "self-mining" disease was one of the problems we have now with asics, and their bad reputation (rightfully so) [09:13:08] I plan to write a nice short 2-page paper or so on our chip design process. maybe it's interesting to some people here. [09:13:15] basically the 5 steps I mentioned before, from math to physical [09:13:32] linzhi-sonia: the paper you linked puts 48% of bitcoin mining in Sichuan. the total in China is much more than 60% [09:13:38] need to run it by a few people to fix bugs, will post it here when published [09:14:06] hyc: ok! I am just sharing the "best" document I know today. it definitely may be wrong and there may be a better one now. [09:14:18] hyc: if you see some reports, please share [09:14:51] hey I am really curious about this: where is a PoW algo that puts block data into the PoW? [09:15:02] the previous paper I read is from here http://hackingdistributed.com/2018/01/15/decentralization-bitcoin-ethereum/ [09:15:38] hyc: you said that already exists? (block data in PoW) [09:15:45] it would make verification harder [09:15:49] linzhi-sonia: https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/campdivision.com/PDF/Computers%20General/Privacy/bitcoin/meh/hashimoto.pdf [09:15:51] but for chips it would be interesting [09:15:52] we discussed the possibility about a year ago https://www.reddit.com/Monero/comments/8bshrx/what_we_need_to_know_about_proof_of_work_pow/ [09:16:05] oh good links! thanks! need to read... [09:16:06] I think that paper by dryja was original [09:17:53] since we have a nice flow - second question I'm very curious about: has anyone thought about in-protocol rewards for other functions? [09:18:55] we've discussed micropayments for wallets to use remote nodes [09:18:55] you know there is a lot of work in other coins about STARK provers, zero-knowledge, etc. many of those things very compute intense, or need to be outsourced to a service (zether). For chipmakers, in-protocol rewards create an economic incentive to accelerate those things. [09:19:50] whenever there is an in-protocol reward, you may get the power of ASICs doing something you actually want to happen [09:19:52] it would be nice if there was some economic reward for running a fullnode, but no one has come up with much more than that afaik [09:19:54] instead of fighting them off [09:20:29] you need to use asics, not fight them. that's an obvious thing to say for an asicmaker... [09:20:41] in-protocol rewards can be very powerful [09:20:50] like I said before - unless the ASICs are so useful they're embedded in every smartphone, I dont see them being a positive for decentralization [09:21:17] if they're a separate product, the average consumer is not going to buy them [09:21:20] now I was talking about speedup of verifying, signing, proving, etc. [09:21:23] they won't even know what they are [09:22:07] if anybody wants to talk about or design in-protocol rewards, please come talk to us [09:22:08] the average consumer also doesn't use general purpose hardware to secure blockchains either [09:22:14] not just for PoW, in fact *NOT* for PoW [09:22:32] it requires sw/hw co-design [09:23:10] we are in long-term discussions/collaboration over this with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash. just talk right now. [09:23:16] this was recently published though suggesting more uptake though I guess https://btcmanager.com/college-students-are-the-second-biggest-miners-of-cryptocurrency/ [09:23:29] I find it pretty hard to believe their numbers [09:24:03] well [09:24:09] sorry, original article: https://www.pcmag.com/news/366952/college-kids-are-using-campus-electricity-to-mine-crypto [09:24:11] just talk, no? rumors [09:24:18] college students are already more educated than the average consumer [09:24:29] we are not seeing many such customers anymore [09:24:30] it's data from cisco monitoring network traffic