BOINC, World Community Grid on Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS

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 now 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 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 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.

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