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BOINC Distributed Computing

 

What is Distributed Computing

Distributed Computing is sharing computation tasks among millions of people worldwide. The tasks can be finding drugs, prime numbers or intelligent life, etc. These tasks run in the background on your computer and operate in the time when you are not actively using it.

The Distributed Client BOINC

BOINC is an acronym for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing and is the small program that runs on your computer, grabbing work units and running them on behalf of the projects you elect to participate in. BOINC can be downloaded from boinc.berkeley.edu.

For some reason, I haven't been able to get the latest 64-bit BOINC client to recognize my NVIDIA GPU so I have rolled back to an older 32-bit version that does recognize it (version 7.2.47) which you can download here.

Hardware

I'm running BOINC on several rackmount servers that I bought used, from 4 to 16 cores. The most recent hardware is an ASUS M52BC-US005S, 8 core AMD FX-8300, 8 GB DDR3 memory and a 1 TB system drive. It has an EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti Superclocked 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 640 Core Video Card for doing a PrimeGrid CUDA task.

Projects

There are many projects that are looking for your spare CPU cycles, including:

World Community Grid - Sponsored by IBM, the World Community Grid runs tasks associated with curing cancer, Ebola and AIDS, clean water and energy, and the human genome project.

PrimeGrid - PrimeGrid searches for prime numbers for use in science and cryptography. I found that even with a GPU, they don't always give enough time to process the work before the expiration date so I'm only participating with the smaller work units. I did find a prime though, 3661*2^1398760+1 (421073 digits)! For machines having trouble loading tasks from PrimeGrid, there is a CUDA app that will do PrimeGrid computing here.

SETI@Home - Sponsored by UC Berkeley, SETI@Home analyzes radio telescope data looking for narrow band patterns that may indicate extra-terrestrial life. So far, we haven't found any.

LHC@Home - I recently started processing data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research) on my server.

Other projects can be found at the BOINC site.

Teams

You can participate on a team and credit your computation to that team. My World Community Grid team is FOTEP and you can join it if you want to. You can also start your own team or join another. My PrimeGrid team is also called FOTEP, as is my SETI@Home team

Stats

You can get a graphic with your project or team stats from BOINCStats. On this site you can configure your projects, get standings and generate a near-real-time graphic with your stats.

 

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