Complexity Zoo is down — anyone willing to help?

Update (August 5): Sorry for the delay! Now that the Zoo is back up, my sense of urgency has decreased, but we still do need a long-term solution. Thanks so much to everyone who offered hosting. Alas, I was persuaded by the argument that it’s too complicated to have a wiki mirrored at multiple locations, so I should really choose one—and ideally it should be someplace where I retain control of the files, in case anything goes wrong again. Following the helpful directions of Eric Price, I set up a MediaWiki installation at http://scottaar.scripts.mit.edu/zoo. Is anyone interested in helping me transfer over the content from the qwiki Zoo?


Update (August 1): Thanks to the efforts of Gopal Sarma at Stanford, the Zoo is back up and running!!  However, I believe the only long-term solution is to get the Zoo mirrored at other locations.  I can then direct the domain complexityzoo.com to point to any of them that are currently up.  So, to all of those who volunteered to mirror the Zoo: thanks so much, and please go ahead and do so!  Let me know what you need for that (I can ask Gopal to get the source files).


As some of you have noticed, the Complexity Zoo (well, don’t bother clicking the link!) has been down for the past couple weeks.  Some Stanford students volunteered to host the Zoo years ago but then graduated, and these sorts of outages have been a frustrating reality since then.  So my co-zookeeper Greg Kuperberg and I are looking for a volunteer to help us get the Zoo back online.  The reward?  Eternal gratitude and a co-zookeeper title for yourself.  In principle, I could host the Zoo on my Bluehost account, but I don’t know how to set up the wiki software, and I’m not even sure how to retrieve the Zoo pages prior to its going down (Google Cache?).  If you’re interested or have ideas, leave a comment or send me an email.

Thanks!!

25 Responses to “Complexity Zoo is down — anyone willing to help?”

  1. Joe Fitzsimons Says:

    I can do it if you are stuck. I’m on holidays at the moment so have a bit of free time to get it set up.

  2. Stjepan Groš Says:

    There at least partial copy on Internet Archives:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20110720050024/http://qwiki.stanford.edu/index.php/Complexity_Zoo

    And maybe I could host this on my department, but, since I’m not in complexity, I can be a backup option, in case no one else volunteers…

  3. András Salamon Says:

    Have emailed you my local copy of the rendered pages, from late 2011. The changes since that time were relatively minor, if one factors out spam and reversions thereof.

    However, you ideally want the wiki sources, and the edit history would be nice too, to get the site up and running. A lot of the quantum folks at Caltech seemed to have relied on the wiki to host their CVs, perhaps they have a backup?

  4. Alessandro Says:

    There is a snapshot of the zoo on the Archive ($\neq$ arXiv :P) that dates back to July 20, 2011: http://web.archive.org/web/20110720050024/http://qwiki.stanford.edu/index.php/Complexity_Zoo

    Seriously there is no backup of the stanford machines that were hosting it?

  5. Robert Says:

    Looks like it was a mediawikia setup. If you can get the database from that it shouldn’t be too hard to reinstate it on another server.
    http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Moving_a_wiki

    I’d be happy to help out with the moving and/or a server to move to.

    Without access to the database it would still be possible to recreate the wiki from the cached versions above but turning that back into wiki markup would be a bit of a pain.

  6. Geoffrey Thomas Says:

    Any thought towards hosting this on scripts.mit.edu? That relieves you of worrying about maintaining the hardware and maintaining backups, although it may need the occasional undergrad to deal with spam cleanup or maybe upgrades (depending on how much you’ve customized MediaWiki). It does make it easy to give an undergrad access to do this, though, and it’s a system many MIT undergrads would be familiar with.

    What’s become of the machines currently hosting the Zoo? It seems like it should be easy to get a database dump if someone can go log in to the machine.

  7. Suresh Says:

    This would be perfect for the SIGACT servers really, if we could convince Paul Beame to do it. How bad is the data loss problem ?

  8. Scott Says:

    Thanks so much, everyone! I especially appreciate the generous offers to host the Zoo, as well as the detailed instructions (which I got by email) on how to use scripts.mit.edu. Based on past experience, I think it would be a good idea to have the Zoo mirrored in multiple places. However, the first step will be tracking down the mediawiki files from the Stanford server. Let me work on that…

  9. Josh Kerr Says:

    I would be willing to host a copy of it. I can probably do much better than Standford and my time spent doing it is better spent than yours.

  10. András Salamon Says:

    It might be a good idea to block new user registrations at the wiki, and to clean up the user database at the same time. Nearly all the spam seems to come from bot registrations, so protecting pages from unregistered editing has little effect. It’s quite depressing trying to roll back spam, let alone chasing the bots scrawling stuff all over user pages. See http://qwiki.stanford.edu/index.php/Special:RecentChanges to get an idea of the extent of the problem.

  11. Dollar Signs Says:

    Hey Scott, I guess you’ve heard about Yuri Milner’s largesse. Are you angry you were not among the initial objects of his affection? Are you tempted to change fields to grab a cool three million? Or do you think Milner will get around to showing some love to computational complexity people? Please be honest.

  12. Scott Says:

    “Dollar Signs”: LOL. Well, Alexei Kitaev was one of the initial winners, and he is a quantum complexity theorist (a great one) at least part of the time, so I guess that answers that question. (Full disclosure: I’d actually known months ago about Yuri Milner and the fact that he was interested in quantum computing, since he met with me to learn about the subject when he visited MIT. And he kept asking me who the best people in the field were, for reasons I couldn’t understand at the time…) And no, I’m not angry—on the contrary, I think the world could use some more Internet billionaires showering money on scientists and mathematicians. :-)

  13. Silas Barta Says:

    Complexity Zoo had trouble scaling? I think there’s a joke in that somewhere ;-)

  14. rrtucci Says:

    ” fact that he was interested in quantum computing, since he met with me to learn about the subject when he visited MIT.”

    Care to go into more details about the meeting. How does a billionaire walk the streets safely? Does he have bodyguards? Was there any trouble with fawning paparazzi (besides you)? Did he wear sunglasses and a wig when he met you. Did he tip the waitress at the restaurant well. Is he planning to start a quantum computing company?

  15. rrtucci Says:

    Come on Scott. Spill the beans. I know you are dying to tell about your meeting with YM

    About the complexity zoo, maybe you should kill some of the animals.

    Are we going to get an update and picture of your mom campaigning for Obama like last time?

  16. Scott Says:

    rrtucci:

      Does he have bodyguards? Was there any trouble with fawning paparazzi (besides you)? Did he wear sunglasses and a wig when he met you. Did he tip the waitress at the restaurant well. Is he planning to start a quantum computing company? … Are we going to get an update and picture of your mom campaigning for Obama like last time?

    No, no, no, we met in my office, not that I know of, and no. Sorry dude. :-)

  17. Scott Says:

    Silas Barta #13:

      Complexity Zoo had trouble scaling? I think there’s a joke in that somewhere

    LOL! But the problem here wasn’t really one of scaling, just of ordinary, O(1) laziness and neglect on my part…

  18. Alexander Vlasov Says:

    It would be nice to have simplified non-wiki copy of Zoo (maybe even as one big html page) for such kind of incidents.

  19. asdf Says:

    There’s some interesting stuff being done (including by wiki inventor Ward Cunningham) on so-called “federated” wikis, that combine the features of wikis and distributed source control. That seems like the direction for multi-location wikis.

    http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/wiki-inventor/

  20. Joshua Herman Says:

    I am interested in helping move the Complexity Zoo. Email me for details

  21. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks Scott for bringing the wiki back. :)

    I have to check with our admins but probably we can host a read-only copy of the Zoo on our servers in UofT. Can you keep a full up to date copy of the files (excluding sensitive information like passwords, etc) available online (say over ftp)? That can make the task of updating the mirrors easier.

  22. Mathblogging.org Weekly Picks « Mathblogging.org — the Blog Says:

    [...] Scott Aaronson alerted the community that the Complexity Zoo was down — it’s back up but volunteers are still needed. [...]

  23. Alessandro Says:

    The page pointed by this link is broken: http://scottaar.scripts.mit.edu/zoo

    Is this supposed to be the official mirror?

    I can find other mirrors, like the one at Uwaterloo (http://complexityzoo.uwaterloo.ca/), but which one is the official one? In what sense they are mirror? Do they actuall get synched?

  24. Sam Says:

    Well If you live in the Dayton Area Check https://daytondonations.com

  25. Nick Black Says:

    When you say “moving over the material”, there’s three parts of moving a mediawiki install: the database, the config files, and the uploaded files (this assumes no changes to mediawiki itself). I’ve got a tutorial here: https://dank.qemfd.net/dankwiki /index.php/MediaWiki#Moving_a_wiki, with links to the manual entry on the topic.

    I’m pretty well-informed regarding mediawiki maintenance (have been running blackwiki for ~6 years now), and a big fan of the Zoo. I see you have things up, but feel free to holla should you need any further info/help.

Leave a Reply