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Miscellaneous Questions


The software is reporting a problem of low hard drive space. How do I fix this?

You need to free up some disk space on your computer in order to participate

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Why do I have two World Community Grid or BOINC software icons by my clock?

This area is called the Windows system tray (or systray). When the software updates itself, it will create a new icon here. The previous icon may not clear until you move your mouse over it. This is common among Windows applications that use the systray. If the second icon does not disappear, you may safely close one of them. To close, right click on the icon and select Exit.

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Why do I lose my work and have to download a new work unit if Windows crashes?

This occurrence is not unique to the software, though it is visible because of the way that the software works. When the Operating System completely freezes and power to the computer must be cut (a forceful/hard boot is performed) open files are mishandled and often corrupted. This occurs in virtually all operating systems, and can lead to corruption of open program files, or even of the operating system itself. The software performs a check of its files when it is started and if they have been damaged, for example during a hard reboot, then it will discard them and download a new work unit.

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What are the workunit deadlines?

A workunit deadline is the number of days you have to complete a workunit and return to the grid servers.

We have workunit deadlines so that the research will continue to move forward in a timely fashion. Currently the workunit deadlines are set at 10 days for all World Community Grid research projects, except Help Conquer Cancer which has a 7 day deadline.

10 Day Workunit Deadline Exception: If you receive a replacement workunit that was generated as a result of a workunit result error from another members computer, then your workunit will have a shorter deadline. In particular, if the original deadline was 10 days, then the shortened deadline will be about 4 days.

If a workunit is not returned by the deadline, our grid servers will send out another copy of the workunit to another member. A member may receive credit for the overdue workunit if it is returned within 7 days of the deadline.

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Why does the software sometimes display with a piece of the screen missing?

The software requires an 800x600 screen to display properly. If the software's window is opened when the screen is resized (for instance if you begin playing a game that resizes the screen), windows may not properly "re-paint" the windows when the screen is re-sized back to its original setting. To fix this, minimize the software's window by clicking on the downward pointing triangle. Right click on the software's icon in the system tray (the section of the Start bar where the time is displayed) and choose exit. Open the software by clicking on [Start] [Programs] [World Community Grid] [World Community Grid Software].

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Do I have a BOINC agent or a UD Agent? How do I tell which agent I have?

Please look in your system tray. Right-click on an icon that looks like this: . If the top menu says "Open World Community Grid - BOINC Client..." then you have the BOINC version of the agent software. Otherwise you have the United Devices version which is no longer supported. To download the BOINC version, just sign in on our website and then select the “download now” button on our home page under the “How You Can Help” section. The installer will uninstall the United Devices version of your software and install the BOINC version.

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Why won't the project suspend when I'm using my device?

You are probably on an older version of BOINC. This issue was fixed with the BOINC World Community Grid release of 5.10.22 or higher. Please download the latest version here.

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Why does the screen saver only show a black or blank screen?

This is a known issue with later versions of BOINC. It is caused when you set your screen saver to require a password upon activation. Please upgrade to the latest World Community Grid BOINC agent available here as it will display an alternate screen saver that will show you the agent is working.

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What is an intermittent project?

Intermittent projects are projects that will only periodically have work available to download. This could be because the project has finished but the researchers may not be finished analyzing all the results, and as such, may discover that they have to run a few more work units through the grid. This could also be because the project team may have periods where they cannot produce work as fast as the members are able to process their work.

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Why do some validated work units remain on my results status page for a long period of time?

When different work units share input files, then they are deleted in a different way than normal work units. All the work units that share the common input are left in the database until all work units that share the input files have completed successfully. Sometimes there will be a few work units in that group that error out and we need to discuss with the researchers how they want them handled. In those cases, the work units will not be cleared from the database until we have agreement with the researchers about how to proceed. This can cause some work units to stay in the database for a very long time.

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Why do I receive tasks / work units for research projects other than the projects I have selected on "My Projects" page?

On the server, there is a daemon called the 'feeder' which loads tasks into a shared memory segment every second. The shared memory segment can store up to 1000 tasks. When the scheduler receives a request from a client to fetch new tasks to work on, the scheduler only looks at this shared memory segment for tasks that it considers for sending. This is done because at any given time there are up to 1 million tasks available to send for a project. If the scheduler hit the database directly to search for tasks to send on each request, then the load on the database would be overwhelming.

The shared memory is divided into 'slots' that are allocated to the different projects that we have active. Only a task for that project can be assigned to a specific slot.

There are certain times each day when the slots for a given project in the shared memory segment become "full" of tasks that are designated for a particular platform (Linux or Windows). These usually only last a few minutes or seconds, but can sometimes last up to 30 minutes.

If for example, you are running Linux and the slots assigned to your selected research projects are full of tasks that are already assigned to Windows, then the server will treat it as no work is available for your selected research projects for you. (This is what triggers the 'tasks are assigned to another platform' message). If you have the 'send other' work preference checked on your preference settings, it will then look for other projects to send you tasks.

At this time, the best option for you is to uncheck the 'send other' preference if you do not want to receive work from other projects when the events described above occur.

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Why are my results marked 'too late' or 'server aborted'?

The BOINC software allows us to set limits for each work unit. Below are some examples, but please note that the numbers used below are just examples and not actual:

  1. Max number of results (example 9)
  2. Max number of error results ( example 5)
  3. Max number of success results (example 5)
So, in this example, if you download a work unit that already has 4 work units returned with an error status, and the work unit requires a quorum of 2, this would indicate that another member has a work unit in progress when you downloaded the work unit. This at a minimum would mean 6 total work units have been sent. Then your wingman returns a result that is also an error. This would cause the server to try and abort all remaining work units in progress and if your work unit had not started running, you would receive a 'server aborted' message. If your device had started on the work unit before the server abort message was sent, the BOINC software cannot abort and your device will complete the work unit, but the result will be marked as 'too late'.

Please note: number of max successes means that the results are not validating against each other. For example all 5 copies have different results.

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Is there a work unit limit set per core?

Yes. The current limit is 35 per core.

The reason for this limit is that in the past, we have had results with wild estimations which could cause a machine to download more days worth of work than what the deadline allowed for, which was causing many results to go into a too late state and required reliable hosts to pick those up after the fact. This also caused many reliable hosts to become unreliable.

With multiple projects, the estimations to BOINC can vary even though we try our best to prevent this event from happening. This work unit limit has helped to prevent this type of event from happening again.

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