The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC, pronounced /bɔɪŋk/ – rhymes with "oink"), an open-source middleware system, supports volunteer and grid computing. Originally developed to support the SETI@home project, it became generalized as a platform for other distributed applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, linguistics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, environmental science, and astrophysics, among others. BOINC aims to enable researchers to tap into the enormous processing resources of multiple personal computers around the world.
BOINC development originated with a team based at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the University of California, Berkeley and led by David Anderson, who also leads SETI@home. As a high-performance distributed computing platform, BOINC brings together about 311,742 active participants and 834,343 active computers (hosts) worldwide processing on average 23.470 PetaFLOPS as of 2 January 2018. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds BOINC through awards SCI/0221529, SCI/0438443 and SCI/0721124. Guinness World Records ranks BOINC as the largest computing grid in the world.
BOINC code runs on various operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, Linux and FreeBSD. BOINC is free software released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).
|Developer(s)||University of California, Berkeley|
|Initial release||10 April 2002|
|Written in||C++ (client/server)
PHP (project CMS)
Java (Android client)
|Type||Grid computing and Volunteer computing|
|License||GNU Lesser General Public License
Project licensing varies
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. As a result, 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.
The BOINC project started in February 2002, and the first version was released on April 10, 2002. The first BOINC-based project was Predictor@home launched on June 9, 2004. In 2009, AQUA@home deployed multi-threaded CPU applications for the first time, followed by the first OpenCL application in 2010.
As of 2 January 2018, 37 BOINC projects are active.
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 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 times 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 and process work units and return the results.
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.
Recently, an application for Android devices has been developed. This permits to every person owning an Android device - smartphone, tablet and even Kindle - to share their unused computing power. The user is allowed to select the research projects he wants to support, as it is in the software for portable computers.
By default, the application will allow computing only when the device is connected to a WiFi network, is being charged, and the battery has a charge of at least 90%. Only some of the BOINC projects are available, including Asteroids@home, Collatz Conjecture, Einstein@home, Enigma@home, LHC@home, Moo! Wrapper, Quake Catcher Network, Rosetta@home, SETI@home, theSkyNet POGS, Universe@Home, World Community Grid and Yoyo@home.
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:
The BOINC Credit System is designed to avoid cheating by validating results before granting credit.
Since 2013, the cryptocurrency Gridcoin has been associated with BOINC as a remunerative coin. Gridcoin uses a modified proof-of-stake timestamping system called proof-of-research to reward participants for computational work completed on BOINC. The proof-of-research system was implemented on October 11, 2014. The system takes in account a parameter supplied with the limited number of white-listed projects called RAC (recently acquired credit), and distributes the coin according to the proportion of RAC acquired in the project to the people who are computing in it. Each whitelisted project gets the same amount of GRC to distribute among its contributors.