Ricky Ford

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A lot of people have heard of the SETI@Home project which uses the BOINC software to download and process tons of information from satellites in the hopes that we can find life on other planets. I used to do the SETI@Home thing 24/7 but have recently come to know of a different project; one which can actually benefit humanity in the hopefully nearer-future.

That project is called the World Community Grid. You can check it out by clicking here. Basically, this set of projects puts your computer to work on curing different diseases such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, etc. The full set of projects you can link up to are:

  • Say No to Schistosoma
  • GO Fight Against Malaria
  • Drug Search for Leishmaniasis
  • The Clean Energy Project
  • Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy
  • Help Fight Childhood Cancer
  • Help Conquer Cancer
  • Human Proteome Folding
  • FightAIDS@Home

If you"re running a headless Ubuntu Server, you can take the following steps to actually setup BOINC on the server so that it works independently from your main computer.

First off, you"ll want to update all of your packages to be sure that you"re getting the latest releases on everything. So issue a good ol"

sudo apt-get update

Once you"re all up-to-date, we want to install the BOINC client.

sudo apt-get install boinc-client

BOINC should not be installed on your server, and now we want to go ahead and find out account information from the World Community Grid (be sure you sign up there first, or else this step won"t work, of course).

boinccmd -lookup_account http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org username password

Substitute your own username and password in the above command. Once you"ve done that, you should get the following information:

status: Success
poll status: operation in progress
account key: (your account key will show here)

Take note of that account key and then do the following:

boinccmd -project_attach http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org accountkey

Replace the accountkey string above with the account key you got earlier. Once you"ve done that, your BOINC client should now start working behind-the-scenes on downloading and processing all of the information that the World Community Grid sends you. If you want to check it"s status and see how it"s going, do the following:

boinccmd -get_state

You"ll get a ton of information from there such as your account information, the current project you"re working on, the size of the unit you"re currently working on, how long it"s going to take your computer to complete the unit, etc.

I highly urge anyone and everyone to participate in the World Community Grid. SETI@Home is fun, however the WCG guys are pointing in the right direction by working on some serious diseases that the world could really do away with.

If anyone has any questions, please ask here. I"ll be happy to help where I can.

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by Ricky Ford in Technology.

Updated on October 10th, 2018 at 12:00 AM.


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Comments (5)

I have set up my server to run the boinc client for WCG and everything seems to be going ok. My question is this: Is there anyway to see what the program is doing remotely? Such as somewhere I can go on my laptop or phone to see if all my cpus are processing, time left, work units completed etc? Something like the client you would see on windows but that I can view remotely.

Posted by Dan on January 17th, 2014

I've followed the same procedure and everything seems to run fine, but my account key just comes up blank:

> boinccmd --lookup_account http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org username password
status: Success
poll status: operation in progress
account key:

When I try to connect using the account key given by the website it runs:

boinccmd --project_attach http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org account_key

But after listing the state I don't think its doing anything:

> boinccmd --get_state
======== Projects ========

======== Applications ========

======== Application versions ========

======== Workunits ========

======== Tasks ========

Posted by Chris on December 5th, 2013

Thanks for the response Chris! I'll look into it on my end and see if anything weird comes up. I'm not sure if the program itself changed any over the last year since I posted this tutorial, however I couldn't see it really changing all that much to just really not work at all. However I'll do some investigating over here and if I come up with anything I'll let you know. :)

Posted by Ricky on December 16th, 2013

Thanks for this guide. There are a couple of unfortunate typos though:

"boinccm -lookup_account" should be "boinccmd -lookup_account"

Also, if you cut/paste any of your boninccmd commands, they don't work because the options need to be preceded with "--" not "-" as is shown here. This may be your blogging platform trying to be clever and screwing it up though.

Posted by JonathanTheBlue on June 22nd, 2013

Thanks a lot! I'll make those changes. I had no idea WordPress was screwing with the hyphens the way they were.

Posted by Ricky on June 23rd, 2013


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