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Thread: Everything You Need To Know About World Community Grid/BOINC

  1. #1
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    Welcome! Whether you are a non-WCG member, a beginner or a dedicated cruncher, this is the thread you will find everything you need to know about World Community Grid and BOINC.

    World Community Grid (WCG):

    Our Mission, Our Work and You
    World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity.

    Our work has developed the technical infrastructure that serves as the grid's foundation for scientific research. Our success depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused computer time to change the world for the better.

    World Community Grid is making technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community.

    Our Sponsor
    IBM Corporation, a leader in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies, has donated the hardware, software, technical services and expertise to build the infrastructure for World Community Grid and provides free hosting, maintenance and support.

    How Grid Technology Works
    Making a difference has never been easier! Grid technology is simple and safe to use. To start, you register, then download and install a small program or "agent" onto your computer.

    When idle, your computer will request data on a specific project from World Community Grid's server. It will then perform computations on this data, send the results back to the server, and ask the server for a new piece of work. Each computation that your computer performs provides scientists with critical information that accelerates the pace of research!

    To learn more about World Community Grid's current research, please link to our Research area.

    World Community Grid runs on software called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at University of California, Berkeley, USA with funding from NSF (National Science Foundation).

    Source: http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/ab...viewAboutUs.do
    BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing:

    The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is a non-commercial 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.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkele...work_Computing
    Guidelines:



    For those of you wondering where to find team and individual stats for WCG and BOINC, here are some links.

    WCG Stats



    BOINC Stats



    More:



    There have been a number of questions regarding the results status page. The definitions of these status' are shown below:

    * Work In Progress - This means that one of your computers is currently working on it
    * Aborted - has 2 prefixes, Server Aborted and User Aborted for canceled jobs before or during running. Server Aborted reflects the Server side instructed cancellations telling the client to automatically abort redundant or known bad tasks. Latter only happens when the client has contacted the project servers who set such an instruction ready.
    * Detached - When a newer client gets dis-associated from this project with tasks still in the cache, will a message be send to the servers to ensure that these tasks get quickly redistributed. With older clients this would not happen and task copies would not get send until the "No Reply" condition occurred.
    * Error - Some event occurred to keep the result from finishing properly. This could be due to a BOINC error or a science application error.
    * No Reply - The result was not returned to the server by the time it was due.
    * Pending Validation - The result was returned to the server but there have not been enough results for that workunit returned to the server yet for validation to be attempted
    * Valid - The result was returned to the server and was equal to the majority of results returned for the workunit.
    * Invalid - The result was returned to the server and was not found to be equal to the majority of results returned for the workunit.
    * Inconclusive - The result was returned to the server and validation was attempted but the system could not determine which result(s) it should consider to be valid. New results were sent out for this workunit and validation will be attempted again when those results are returned. Additionally, for the Zero Redundancy projects one or more results are at times randomly marked Inconclusive to force out an additional copy for computation and verification. Clients which produced an invalid/error result will see this more frequent until the reliability rate has returned to high standard.
    * Too Late - The result was returned to the server a long time after it was due and so no credit was granted.
    * Other - The most common reason for this status is that the BOINC server decided that the workunit should be sent out to another computer but prior to the workunit actually being sent again, the workunit was validated.
    * Waiting to sent - A transient condition when not all copies of a Initial distribution have been downloaded by volunteer clients. Seen also when a project has been temporarily stopped.
    https://secure.worldcommunitygrid.or...ad?thread=6105
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 12-08-2010 at 06:03 PM. Reason: Updating...

  2. #2
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    Everything You Need To Know About World Community Grid/BOINC

    Since there are many new members, I thought I'd pass along some tips on building a highly-productive, low-cost, efficient cruncher.


    CPU - I think there is general agreement that CPU's like the Core i7-2600K or i7-930 represent the best bang for the buck as far as a crunching chip goes. For around $280-300, you have a CPU that can process eight work units at a time.

    OS - Most of us have found that using a 64-bit operating system in combination with one of the BOINC 64-bit clients generates the most points. You should see at least a ten percent boost in daily point production. Windows will generally give you more points, though some have had good experiences with Linux.

    RAM - Opinions vary on this matter. Some feel timings matter, while others don't. Personally I don't think timings matter much for crunching.

    MotherboardYou don't need the most expensive board or even one with a lot of bells and whistles. I would focus instead on the power regulation. Boards with good voltage regulation usually have lots of MOSFETs. MOSFETs are often used in pairs. So if you see eight, that means 4-phase power. 12 would be 6-phase, etc. Boards with fewer MOSFETs generally generate more heat at full load. Good cooling (fans) can help. But all that heat means inefficient operation. I would look at boards with good power regulation (at least 6-phase power), as well as quality parts like ferrite core chokes and solid core capacitors.

    PSU - The choice of power supply is more important than many think. As some have already found out, cheap PSU's can lead to disaster. You don't have to buy the most expensive or even the most powerful PSU. But get one that has a proven track record of reliability. I would also look for one with 80 Plus certification., meaning it will run at 80% efficiency at various loads. That also means 20% or less of the electric energy is wasted as heat.

    Video card - If you have a machine that's used solely for crunching, the best choice remains the VGA PCI card. You can usually find them on Ebay for under $10. Another option is no video card at all. People can monitor the actvity of a so-called headless cruncher by using a utility like BOINCview.

    Hard drive - Don't spend a lot of money on HDD's. An 80GB drive is more than enough. There are 40GB drives as well, but usually they cost as much as the 80GB ones. Resellers frequently have sales on HDD's. Just keep an eye out for those discounted drives. Using a solid state drive is overkill.

    More tips to come.
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 05-01-2011 at 06:19 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Shut down - Before rebooting or shutting down your computer, you need to exit BOINC first. Just exit using the BOINC icon in the system tray and then wait a few seconds. I'm told Vista users need to wait longer. A sudden shutdown can result in work units with computational errors.

    Profiles - WCG allows you to create up to four profiles - default, home, work and school. Let's suppose you want one cruncher to run one project and a second cruncher run another. By creating a second profile, you can do that. One cruncher could be assigned to Default, while the other could be Home. You can customize the settings for each profile in the Device Profiles section of your My Grid page.
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 08-08-2009 at 07:08 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Errors

    Computation errors can be caused by a lot of things - your machine may be unstable or the work unit itself is bad. You should periodically check the WCG forum to see if there's been a bad batch of WU's.

    If you get an error message, the BOINC Wiki has a list of those messages and what they mean.
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  5. #5
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    Common mistakes

    Computer clock - Make sure your OS has the correct time and date. BOINC uses the computer clock to determine whether your work units have passed the designated deadline. If, for example, your clock is off by a year, BOINC will think all your WU's are no longer valid because they missed the deadline.

    Web-based settings - If you wish to use the settings on your My Grid page, on the BOINC manager, go to Advanced, then Preferences. In the upper right-hand corner, hit Clear. BOINC will then use your web-based settings. (see pics below)

    Deleting work units - Some people will delete work units they don't want to run. When you delete a WU, it's considered an error by WCG. And when you submit a lot of work units with errors, you get penalized. Your daily quota of WU's will be less, until BOINC/WCG has determined you've stabilized the problem.
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 03-20-2010 at 03:30 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Points - This always confuses new members. WCG's point system is different from BOINC's. When the WCG project first started, it did not use BOINC. It was only later that BOINC was added as a client. But since BOINC uses a different point system, WCG had to come up with a way to convert BOINC points into WCG points. The current formula is one BOINC point equals approximately seven WCG points.

    BOINC uses a validation process. The same work unit must be processed error-free by at least two different computers (hosts) before credit is awarded. The validation process can take anywhere from a day to a week. So when you install BOINC you will probably notice that you weren't awarded many points the first couple of days. This is normal.

    One other important thing about points:

    From the WCG website:

    Will I lose points if a work unit finishes slower than usual?

    No. Points are not tied to number of work units, but amount of computational effort exerted. Therefore, if your computer worked for three days on one work unit, or in those same three days completed five work units, you would get the same amount of points if the machine worked at the same level of effort.
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  7. #7
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    Caching work units - In the Device Profiles section of your My Grid page, there is a setting that allows you to increase (or decrease) the number of work units that you have cached. Some people like to have at least a 2-3 day supply of WU's. This is protection in the event the WCG servers crash for an extended period of time. About a year ago, the servers were down for three straight days!
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 03-20-2010 at 03:30 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Windows vs. Linux

    Many people have asked whether it's worthwhile to run Linux on WCG. Many BOINC users already do. As I mentioned earlier, Windows will usually generate more points per day. But the 64-bit versions of Linux do fairly well.

    Advantages of Linux:
    - Free (many versions)
    - Good OS for older systems because hardware requirements are less demanding than Windows

    Even if you're not familiar with Linux, current distros like Ubuntu make it fairly easy because BOINC is included in the software package. There are usually just one or two steps to install it. Don't even need to use command line. Instructions for installing BOINC on Ubuntu can be found here.

    With 64-bit Linux operating systems, depending on the type of processor you're using, you may need to install the 32-bit libraries. Even though you can crunch with 64-bit clients and operating systems, the WCG project applications themselves are 32-bit.

    If you are using Ubuntu x64, open up the Terminal and type in this command, then hit enter:

    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

    If you have an AMD 64 or Xeon processor, you probably don't need to do this. And no need to install libraries if you are using Windows x64.
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  9. #9
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    Patience & Perseverance - When you first start crunching, it will seem like you're not making much progress. But 10,000 points/day, for example, becomes 300,000 after a month, and 3,600,000 after a year. Also think about all those work units you are submitting to researchers. Even if you have just one machine crunching, you may end up processing the WU that leads to a scientific breakthrough. So don't become discouraged. We are all here to support each other.
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  10. #10
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    CPU Benchmark

    I'm sure most of you have seen the CPU Benchmark that's included in the BOINC Manager. The benchmark is run automatically after you install BOINC or when you change the client version. It will then automatically run every five days on Core 0 (first core) only. So having a multi-core processor will not give you higher benchmark scores.

    So what do the results mean?

    The benchmark has two components:

    - Whetstone is the floating point calculation. Each work unit delivered to your machine includes an estimated number of floating point operations (FLOPS). BOINC divides this by the Whetstone benchmark number to estimate completion time. So the higher the Whetstone number, the lower the estimated time to complete the work unit.

    - Dhrystone is the integer calculation. The term Dhrystone is actually a play on words. Since it has no floating point component like Whetstone, it's considered "dhry".

    So do higher benchmarks mean more points? That's often the case. Though some operating systems, like Linux 64-bit, seem to give inflated Dhrystone results. Also, a ten percent increase in your benchmark score does not necessarily mean your daily point output will also increase by ten percent.

    People like to try different clients because some give higher benchmark scores than others. I have always felt you should pay more attention to the daily output of your machine. That has always been the best benchmark.
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  11. #11
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    Uploading work units

    This issue has come up a number of times. WCG uses a scheduling server to determine when to take in your completed work units and when to send out new ones to your computer. If you feel the WCG servers are not taking in your completed WU's fast enough, there are several things you can do.

    1) In the Device Profiles section of your My Grid page, there is a setting called "Connect to the network about every _____" (see pic below). By lowering the setting, the servers should take in the WU's at shorter intervals. But keep in mind that even if you set it to 0.1, that's still one-tenth of a day or 2.4 hours.

    2) On the BOINC Manager, go to the Projects tab and hit Update. This will force the servers to take in the completed WU's.

    3) Create a batch file. One of our members, meshmesh, has a how-to guide. You can find it here.

    Sometimes, your finished WU's are not being uploaded because the WCG servers are down. You can verify this by checking the Messages tab on the BOINC Manager.
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 05-09-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Virtual memory usage

    As many of you have noticed, during crunching the paging/swap file is constantly being used. Virtual memory usage is even higher with some operating systems like XP x64. Always make sure you have enough virtual memory allocated. If you're using XP, right click on My Computer ---> Properties ---> Advanced ---> Performance Options ---> Advanced.

    WCG recommends that the maximum paging file size should be at least 2 or 3 times your real memory size, and should preferably be at least 512MB, whichever is greater.
    Last edited by sierra_bound; 05-09-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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    What does preempted/waiting mean?

    Occasionally you will have a work unit that's been paused. Depending on a client version, it will say "preempted" or "waiting" in the BOINC Manager. There are a couple of reason why this may happen. Sometimes you will be sent work units with earlier deadlines than the others in your queue. Those always get crunched first. Also, if you are running more than one project, you will notice that BOINC switches its crunching between projects. It is done this way to give equal CPU time to all projects, set in accordance with your preferences and with the amount of time until your tasks reach their deadlines.

    Computer is overcommited

    This message will occur if BOINC finds that the total time required to finish all work units in your queue exceeds one or more deadlines. For example, you might have ten work units downloaded and each will take about 24 hours to complete. But all deadlines are within 4 days. Unless you have a quad-core, there's no way you'd be able to meet all the deadlines. BOINC starts with the earliest deadline, attempting to complete as much work as possible. You sometimes see this problem with slower machines. The solution is usually to lower the setting "Connect to the network about every ____" (see above post).
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  14. #14
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    Link seems broken on ""XS WCG Team & Member Rank [XtremeSystems Forums]"" above


    My Biggest Fear Is When I die, My Wife Sells All My Stuff For What I Told Her I Paid For It.
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  15. #15
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    I can't even remember what that link was for, so I removed it.

    I also recently removed links to Stats 'N Stones. That site went offline due to a lack of funds. It's a shame because I liked the way it compiled BOINC stats.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra_bound View Post
    I can't even remember what that link was for, so I removed it.

    I also recently removed links to Stats 'N Stones. That site went offline due to a lack of funds. It's a shame because I liked the way it compiled BOINC stats.
    this is what that thread was Sierra... the allprojects database is down this morning so the images aren't showing up. but it should be back up shortly, they seem to do this every morning for updates I think. it goes offline early in the morning. then shows back a couple hrs later for the rest of the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashraf View Post
    There are too many sticky threads in this section. I would like to merge some of the sticky threads into one existing (sierra_bound's) thread and rename the title to Everything You Need To Know About World Community Grid/BOINC or give me a better title. I will not move the following threads: WCG/BOINC Milestones, Todays Numbers: Get 'em while they're hot!, The "My oh my, look who has Pie" thread.

    If you have any suggestion, that would be great.
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptMorgan View Post
    Can we keep this sticky'd Xtremesystems WCG team and member rank ?
    Quote Originally Posted by PoppaGeek View Post
    Did we loose Mikeb12 thread that had the charts? Do not remember what it was called. Showed team rank and daily RAC.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeB12 View Post
    nice job. there were way too many random stickies to go thru... I just joined in May and that was the impression I got as a newb too..

    here's that thread PG was talking about, it's just all the RAC and member rank graphics http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=228208

    it's also listed in the master list, which is sticked in the DC Vault section along with all the other projects I could find graphics for at the time http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=228223
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashraf View Post
    Ah, I thought it was already there under the WCG stats in the sticky thread. I am going to add it to the sticky thread now.

    EDIT: Added!

  17. #17
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    Stats 'N Stones may eventually go back online. Right now the site is trying to raise money. There are a number of sites that keep track of BOINC points. My favorites are Stats 'N Stones and BOINCstats.
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  18. #18
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    IN BEFORE someone mentions Microcenter !!

    Awesome guide SB Keep it up

    Perkam

  19. #19
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    Awesome compilation thread Sierra, I like how you integrated the various guides and info into one.
    World Community Grid - come join a great team and help us fight for a better tomorrow![size=1]


  20. #20
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    Thanks. Actually it was Ashraf who integrated everything.
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  21. #21
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    May I suggest adding links to BOINCView installation and set-up guide? The guide also has links to a couple of downloads, both 1.2.5 on the BOINC site, and 1.4.2 hosted elsewhere.

    Eller

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by karl_eller View Post
    May I suggest adding links to BOINCView installation and set-up guide? The guide also has links to a couple of downloads, both 1.2.5 on the BOINC site, and 1.4.2 hosted elsewhere.

    Eller
    Yes definitely!

  23. #23
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    Stats 'N Stones is back online. Link re-added to list. Also added link to BoincView installation.
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  24. #24
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    Today I joined the cause I'm currently only crunching on a stock Athlon X2 245 and P4 3GHz, but HOPEFULLY tomorrow I'll lug my Ph2 965 to work (for internet) and get it going
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jowy Atreides View Post
    Intel is about to get athlon'd
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oj101 View Post
    Today I joined the cause I'm currently only crunching on a stock Athlon X2 245 and P4 3GHz, but HOPEFULLY tomorrow I'll lug my Ph2 965 to work (for internet) and get it going
    Welcome! And thanks for the help!


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