Did you know you can help cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, search for extraterrestrials, run particle acceleration simulations, and help construct a 3-D map of the Milky Way without ever leaving your home?

Meet BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), an open source middleware system for volunteer and grid computing. The intent of BOINC is to make it possible for researchers in science, math, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics to tap into the enormous processing power of personal computers around the world.

All you have to do is download the software that can be found here.

Your PC then gets a set of tasks from the project’s scheduling server. The tasks depend on your PC: for example, the server won’t give it tasks that require more RAM than you have. Projects can support several applications, and the server may send you tasks from any of them. Your PC downloads executable and input files from the project’s data server. If the project releases new versions of its applications, the executable files are downloaded automatically to your PC. Your PC runs the application programs, producing output files. Your PC uploads the output files to the data server. Later (up to several days later, depending on your preferences) your PC reports the completed tasks to the scheduling server, and gets new tasks. This cycle is repeated indefinitely. BOINC does this all automatically; you don’t have to do anything.

 

To ensure that credit is granted fairly, most BOINC projects work as follows:

  • Each task may be sent to two computers.
  • When a computer reports a result, it claims a certain amount of credit, based on how much CPU time was used.
  • When at least two results have been returned, the server compares them. If the results agree, then users are granted the smaller of the claimed credits.

For more information on this incredible project (that’s largely ran by volunteers like YOU) Check out the official website and make sure you pass this on to anyone you think may be interested in helping.

Joining FQTQ’s Team:

It is fun to work as a team, and BOINC is no different. FQTQ has our own BOINC team that you can join and do all the same fun science-y tasks but in a more competitive environment with your fellow FQTQers.

FQTQ’s BOINC Stats as of 12/31/13

The best way to register for FQTQ’s team will be to create a BAM account after you download and install BOINC. (BAM allows you to do several very cool things, such as it’s ability to automatically create accounts using the same user credentials, joining teams, and managing your resources from a single location.) After you’ve created an account, you’ll want to sign up for your projects, then proceed to the teams section, select the relevant projects, click “join team” and search for “From Quarks to Quasars.” After that, you should be good to go.


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