BOINC - Saving The World

Back in 2013, I first started using the BOINC software and I signed up for some projects. But unfortunately, after just one week, I stopped and focused my time on something else. A couple of weeks ago I realized I was often wasting idle computer time and decided to join again.

What is BOINC?

BOINC is an open-source software for volunteer computing that was started at UC Berkeley. It allows anyone to contribute to scientific advancements simply by using their home computer. Researchers and Scientists can create projects that need a high amount of computing power and ask for people around the world to participate and support their efforts.

In the past BOINC was part of some interesting scientific advancements:

  • In February 2010 the FightAIDS@Home project scientists announced that they found two compounds that make a completely new class of AIDS-fighting drugs possible.
  • In June 2013 the Clean Energy Project published a database of over 2.3 million organic molecules which have had their properties characterized. Of these, 35,000 molecules have shown the potential to double the efficiency over organic solar cells being produced nowadays.
  • In February 2014 the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project scientists announced the discovery of 7 compounds that destroy neuroblastoma cancer cells without any apparent side effects.
  • In July 2015, the Computing for Clean Water project announced that a paper had been published on the Nature Nanotechnology journal describing how they have discovered a new way to filter water much faster than previously thought.

How to setup BOINC

Setting up the BOINC software is pretty simple. If you are using a desktop computer (Linux, Mac, or Windows) simple download the software. If you have a headless system you can find a tutorial for your operating system here. Afterwards you have to sign up for projects that interest you. I can also recommend using a project manager such as the BOINC Account Manager (BAM) or Grid Republic.

My Boinc Setup

I have two computers that work on BOINC projects for me. On the one hand I use any spare capacity on my home gaming PC for calculations. You can adapt the BOINC settings so that the CPU is only used while not actively using the computer. On the other hand I use a quarter of the server CPU, where I host this blog, to contribute 24/7.

My Boinc Projects

So far, I have decided to join the following BOINC projects:

  1. World Communty Grid. Help all kinds of medical research projects.
  2. PrimeGrid. Finding new & large prime numbers.
  3. GPU Grid. Using your GPU for a distributed computing infrastructure devoted to biomedical research.

Boinc Statistics

Boinc Stats

World Community Grid

Final Words

Let me know in the comments, if I was able to convince you!

Now I can only say: Come, join me, and save the world. 😉

By Cecil Wöbker

I do science during the day and develop or design at night. If you like my work, hire me.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or email me with any questions.