Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing

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BOINC logo July 2007.svg
Developer(s) University of California, Berkeley
Initial release 10 April 2002; 15 years ago (2002-04-10)
Stable release
7.8.3 Windows

3 October 2017; 4 months ago (2017-10-03)

7.8.6 macOS 14 January 2018; 35 days ago (2018-01-14)

7.2.42 Linux 28 February 2014; 3 years ago (2014-02-28)

7.4.53 Android 3 July 2016; 19 months ago (2016-07-03)

Preview release
7.4.22 Linux

17 September 2014; 3 years ago (2014-09-17)

Development status Active
Written in C++ (client/server)
PHP (project CMS)
Java (Android client)
Operating system Linux
Type Grid computing and Volunteer computing
License GNU Lesser General Public License[1]
Project licensing varies

The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC, pronounced /bɔɪŋk/ – rhymes with "oink"[2]), an open-source middleware system, supports volunteer and grid computing.[3] Originally developed to support the [email protected] 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.[4] 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 [email protected] 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.[5] The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds BOINC through awards SCI/0221529,[6] SCI/0438443[7] and SCI/0721124.[8] Guinness World Records ranks BOINC as the largest computing grid in the world.[9]

BOINC code runs on various operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android,[10] Linux and FreeBSD.[11] BOINC is free software released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).


BOINC was originally developed to manage the [email protected] project.

The original SETI client was a non-BOINC software exclusively for [email protected] 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.[12]

The BOINC project started in February 2002, and the first version was released on April 10, 2002. The first BOINC-based project was [email protected] launched on June 9, 2004. In 2009, [email protected] deployed multi-threaded CPU applications for the first time,[13] followed by the first OpenCL application in 2010.

As of 2 January 2018, 37 BOINC projects are active.[14]

Design and structure

The BOINC Manager working on the [email protected] project (v 7.6.22)
BOINC Manager icon

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., [email protected], [email protected]) 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.

User interfaces

BOINC can be controlled remotely by remote procedure calls (RPC), from the command line, and from the BOINC Account Manager.

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.

Mobile Application

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.

Fortunately for the user, the application will allow the computing only when the device is connected to a WiFi network and when the device battery has at least a charge of 90%, or when it is getting charged[15].

Unfortunately, not all of the BOINC projects are available. Only 13[16] of them are, and they are: [email protected], Collatz Conjecture, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Moo! Wrapper, Quake Catcher Network, [email protected], [email protected], theSkyNet POGS, [email protected], World Community Grid and [email protected].

Account managers

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:

  • BAM! (BOINC Account Manager) (The first publicly available Account Manager, released for public use on May 30, 2006)
  • GridRepublic (Follows the idea of keep it simple and keep it neat when it comes to account management)
  • Charity Engine (Non-profit account manager for hire, uses prize draws and continuous charity fundraising to motivate people to join the grid)
  • Dazzler (Open-source Account Manager, to ease management institutional resources)

Credit system

The BOINC Credit System is designed to avoid cheating by validating results before granting credit.

  • A credit management system helps to ensure that users are returning results which are both scientifically and statistically accurate.
  • Online distributed computing is almost entirely a volunteer endeavor. For this reason, projects are dependent on a complicated and variable mix of new users, long-term users, and retiring users.


There are about 37 projects currently listed[14], of which about half yield published reports.[17] The licensing of the projects varies.


Since 2013, the cryptocurrency Gridcoin has been associated with BOINC as a remunerative coin.[18] Gridcoin uses a modified proof-of-stake timestamping system[19] called proof-of-research to reward participants for computational work completed on BOINC.[20][21] . The proof-of-research system was implemented on October 11th, 2014[22]. 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.

See also


  1. ^ BOINC is now distributed under the Lesser GPL, BOINC, University of California, Berkeley, 2005-01-15, retrieved 2012-08-19 
  2. ^ Gonzalez, Laura Lynn, ed. (7 January 2007). "[email protected]". YouTube. [email protected]. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Save the world using your PC or phone". CNET. Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  4. ^ Scoles, Sarah. "A Brief History of [email protected]". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  5. ^ "BOINC". Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  6. ^ Research and Infrastructure Development for Public-Resource Scientific Computing, The National Science Foundation
  7. ^ SCI: NMI Development for Public-Resource Computing and Storage, The National Science Foundation
  8. ^ SDCI NMI Improvement: Middleware for Volunteer Computing, The National Science Foundation
  9. ^ "Largest computing grid". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  10. ^ "Put your Android device to work on World Community Grid!". July 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Manual sites of FreeBSD system". January 2, 2015. 
  12. ^ Anderson, David P. "Public Computing: Reconnecting People to Science". Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  13. ^ Kamran Karimi; Neil Dickson & Firas Hamze (2010). "High-Performance Physics Simulations Using Multi-Core CPUs and GPGPUs in a Volunteer Computing Context" (PDF). International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications. doi:10.1177/1094342010372928. 
  14. ^ a b "Choosing BOINC projects". BOINC. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  15. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Projects". BOINC. 
  17. ^ Publications by BOINC projects, BOINC wiki, University of California, Berkeley, retrieved 2012-08-19 
  18. ^ Swan, Melanie (2015). Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy (1st ed.). O'Reilly Media. 
  19. ^ "Gridcoin Crowdfunds for PiGrid PnP Network Rewarding Scientific Research". Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Wagner, Andrew. "Putting the Blockchain to Work For Science!". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Halford, Rob (2013-10-06). "GRIDCOIN – GRC (The environmentally conscious coin)". Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  22. ^ "Proof-of-Research - Gridcoin". Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  • Vance, Ashlee (2003-12-17). "Sun and UC Berkeley are about to BOINC". The Register. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 

External links

  • Official website
  • BOINC developer Rom Walton's Blog
  • The Big BOINC ! Projects and Chronology Page written by BOINC User John Koulouris, (Esq.), and Web resources for BOINC participants from the Berkeley University Website.
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