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Title: Boinc  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Predictor@home,, LHC@home, Einstein@Home, Big and Ugly Rendering Project, BOINC Credit System, Rosetta@home, SETI@home beta, BBC Climate Change Experiment, QMC@Home
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Developer(s) University of California, Berkeley
Stable release Preview release Operating system GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Android
Type Grid computing and Volunteer computing
License LGPL [1]

The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is an open source middleware system for volunteer and grid computing. It was originally developed to support the SETI@home project before it became useful as a platform for other distributed applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics. The intent of BOINC is to make it possible for researchers to tap into the enormous processing power of personal computers around the world.

BOINC has been developed by a team based at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the University of California, Berkeley led by David Anderson, who also leads SETI@home. As a high performance distributed computing platform, BOINC has about 596,224 active computers (hosts) worldwide processing on average 9.2 petaFLOPS as of March 2013.[2] There are suggestions to preinstall it on new computers, but with the choice to turn it off. This would fast generate an large calculating cloude, faster then any supercomputer. BOINC is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through awards SCI/0221529,[3] SCI/0438443[4] and SCI/0721124.[5]

The framework is supported by various operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android,[6] GNU/Linux and FreeBSD. BOINC is free software which is released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).


BOINC was originally developed to manage the SETI@home project.

The original SETI client was a non-BOINC software exclusively for SETI@home. As one of the first volunteer grid computing projects, it was not designed with a high level of security. Some participants in the project attempted to cheat the project to gain "credits", while some others submitted entirely falsified work. BOINC was designed, in part, to combat these security breaches.[7]

The BOINC project started in February 2002 and the first version was released on 10 April 2002. The first BOINC-based project was Predictor@home launched on 9 June 2004. In 2009, AQUA@home deployed multi-threaded CPU applications for the first time,[8] followed by the first OpenCL application in 2010.

Design and structure

BOINC is designed to be a free structure for anyone wishing to start a volunteer computing project. Most BOINC projects are nonprofit and rely heavily, if not completely, on volunteers.

In essence, BOINC is software that can use the unused CPU and GPU cycles on a computer to do scientific computing—what one individual does not use of his/her computer, BOINC uses. In late 2008, BOINC's official website announced that NVIDIA (a leading GPU manufacturer) had developed a system called CUDA that uses GPUs for scientific computing. With NVIDIA's assistance, some BOINC-based projects (e.g., SETI@home, MilkyWay@home) now have applications that run on NVIDIA GPUs using CUDA. Beginning in October 2009, BOINC added support for the ATI/AMD family of GPUs also. These applications run from 2× to 10× faster than the former CPU-only versions. In 7.x preview versions, GPU support (via OpenCL) was added for computers using Mac OS X with AMD Radeon graphic cards.

BOINC consists of a server system and client software that communicate with each other to distribute, process, and return workunits.

User interfaces

BOINC can be controlled remotely by remote procedure calls (RPC), from the command line, and from the BOINC Account Manager.

BOINC Manager currently has two "views": the Advanced View and the Simplified GUI. The Grid View was removed in the 6.6.x clients as it was redundant.

The appearance (skin) of the Simplified GUI is user-customizable, in that users can create their own designs.

Account managers

A BOINC Account Manager is an application that manages multiple BOINC project accounts across multiple computers (CPUs) and operating systems. Account managers were designed for people who are new to BOINC or have several computers participating in several projects. The account manager concept was conceived and developed jointly by GridRepublic and BOINC. Current account managers include:

  • BAM! (BOINC Account Manager) (The first publicly available Account Manager, released for public use on May 30, 2006)
  • GridRepublic (Follows the idea of keep it simple and keep it neat when it comes to account management)
  • Charity Engine (Non-profit account manager for hire, uses monthly prize draws and continuous charity fundraising to motivate people to join the grid)
  • Dazzler (Opensource Account Manager, to ease management institutional resources)

Credit system

The BOINC Credit System is designed to avoid cheating by validating results before granting credit.

  • A credit management system helps to ensure that users are returning results which are both scientifically and statistically accurate.
  • Online distributed computing is almost entirely a volunteer endeavor. For this reason projects are dependent on a complicated and variable mix of new users, long-term users, and retiring users.

BOINC projects

There are over 80 projects currently listed,[9] of which about half yield published reports.[10]

There is also a World Heritage Encyclopedia page of all grid projects, including BOINC projects.

See also

Free software portal


External links

  • BOINC developer Rom Walton's Blog

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