World Community Grid Software

What is BOINC?

The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is open-source software that supports volunteer computing. BOINC was developed under a National Science Foundation grant at the University of California, Berkeley and is used for many different volunteer computing initiatives. It consists of software that a user downloads and runs on their computer, as well as server components that handle distributing work units and receiving results.

World Community Grid uses BOINC as a key part of its infrastructure in order to help support research for multiple institutions. Volunteers participate in World Community Grid either by downloading the World Community Grid branded version of the BOINC software, or the BOINC software itself, available directly from BOINC's website.

More information about BOINC can be found here.


How can I tell which version of the BOINC software I am using?

Right click on the World Community Grid, or BOINC, icon in the bottom right corner of your display (by the date and time). Click on “About World Community Grid – BOINC Client” or “About BOINC” and the current version of the software will be displayed.

How do I check if I have the latest supported version of the BOINC software?

You may check which version of the software that World Community Grid is currently supporting by visiting this page: . The version number is displayed below the name of the agent for each operating system. If this number is the same as the version number that you have installed then you have the latest supported version.

How do I upgrade to the latest supported version of the BOINC Software?

You may upgrade to the latest version of the World Community Grid software by visiting and following the directions on that page.

How do I know that the BOINC software is running correctly?

One way to check is to double-click on the World Community Grid, or BOINC, icon in the system tray in the lower right of your display. An information panel will pop up that should reflect that the application is running and the panel will also display the “elapsed time” and “time remaining”.

I have a platform that isn't supported by World Community Grid. Could I get a copy of the research application code and compile it myself?

No. The code has to remain in the control of the World Community Grid support team. Even the slightest change in the code, including using a different compiler, could render the research results useless. In addition, the license agreement that we have with the researchers for their code stipulate that only the World Community Grid support team can touch the source code. The source code usually differs slightly from potential public versions of the same code due to changes made for use with the specific grid project. Furthermore, we typically run many tests to make certain there are no problems on a given platform.

Will World Community Grid ever run on a game box?

Running on game consoles requires specialized technical knowledge, plus the right kind of research project. The technical knowledge can be acquired but the research projects for game consoles must have a very small footprint.

What was the difference between run time reported by the United Devices version and the BOINC version?

It is important to note, that the time reported to the server doesn't mean that the UD version was doing more work then the BOINC version. The UD version simply overcounted the actual time that was contributed to the project. In fact, the BOINC version actually contributes more time to the project because it is able to take advantage of multi-core processors or multi-processory systems. The UD version could only use one core or processor. The BOINC version will start up a science application on each core or processor and thus be able to get two or more times the work done.

How is "run time" calculated?

"Run time" is simply a measurement of how long a volunteer's device spends running World Community Grid tasks. You accumulate run time for running tasks on your device's GPU, CPU, or both.

  • If you contribute GPU time, the run time is the actual elapsed time in which the World Community Grid task executes on the GPU. In other words, if the task starts at 10:15am and finishes at 10:19am, you accumulate 4 minutes of run time.

  • If you contribute CPU time, the picture is a bit more complicated because CPUs can prioritize different tasks and have multiple cores. Only the time a CPU spends actually executing a World Community Grid task counts toward your run time. As an example, if a quad-core computer runs a World Community Grid task on each core at 75% throttle from 10:15am to 10:19am, then each core will accumulate 3 minutes of run time (75% of 4 minutes). Across all 4 cores, the total run time would therefore be 4 x 3 minutes = 12 minutes.