What is BOINC?
BOINC stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. It is a distributed computing framework that allows research groups to distribute computational tasks related to their work to users who offer their computers to crunch the data. The work units are always run on lowest priority, essentially making them run when not in use.
What's the benefit?
For the researchers, BOINC provides the opportunity for computational tasks that would otherwise cost thousands, if not millions, in computer hardware. By distributing the work to users, they can also find bugs in their code much faster than if their project were conducted internally.
For you the user, you get to be part of a project that could have long standing effects. Some projects are dealing with protein folding, which can help solve mysteries such as genetic diseases or cancer. Other projects are trying to solve mathematical problems. Further yet, some are trying to find evidence of extra terrestrial life. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Furthermore, depending on where you live, you can make a tax-deductible donation to your favorite project!
- SETI@Home (Extraterrestrial)
- Rosetta@Home (Protein folding)
- Einstein@Home (Astronomy)
- ABC@Home (Mathematics)
- SHA-1 Collision Search Graz (Mathematics)
Ok, I'm interested. How do I sign up?
Download the BOINC software from the Berkeley homepage listed at the bottom of this post. Once installed, run the BOINC Manager. It will ask you to attach to a project, and provide a list of available projects. If you haven't created an account for the selected project, do so by providing your email address and a password of your choice. If you are connecting to multiple projects, it's best to use the same email address. Once you've connected to the project, join the MSFN.org team through your project account profile. If the project doesn't have an MSFN.org team, post here, and we'll create one for you!
Projects with MSFN.org teams