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Technical Tips – Updated BOINC Client 

World Community Grid and BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), an open-source software platform for distributed computing using volunteered resources, have worked together to create an exciting new version of the BOINC agent. World Community Grid has supported the use of the BOINC software for grid computing since November 2005. World Community Grid is a major contributor to the open source development community that supports BOINC and helps to extend the reach of distributed computing for research. BOINC also allows us to support Linux and Mac users on World Community Grid. This new version of the agent contains a number of features to make it easy and fun to use. The BOINC software is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Some of the important features of this new version include:

Let's go through the new BOINC agent software and take an in-depth look at the features.

Main Window

  1. A set of tabs that allows you to get access to work units that have been started on your computer. The green circle indicates which ones are currently running. In this case, the agent software is running on a dual core processor and has two work units running at the same time.
  2. The name of the research project for the work unit that is being displayed. You can choose which work unit is displayed using the tabs.
  3. A slide show that contains a series of images about the research project currently running. You can also click on the slide show to view real-time graphics for the work unit you are running. (See picture below.)
  4. Information on how long the current work unit has been running and an estimate of the time remaining to complete it. It also includes a progress bar.
  5. Access to the Messages, Preferences and Advance View of the agent, as well as a 'Snooze' button that will temporarily stop execution of the agent software for 60 minutes.
  6. A link to the Help section of World Community Grid

BOINC Simple GUI Graphics

The new agent is "skinnable." This means that the appearance of the agent can be changed by installing a skin. World Community Grid – BOINC agent displays World Community Grid's skin (pictured above) after installation and also includes the BOINC skin. Below are the default BOINC skin and a skin that has been developed by BAM!, one of the BOINC Account Manager web sites. Details on how to create your own skin are available at boinc.berkeley.edu/manager_skin.

BOINC default skinBAM Skin


The preferences window allows you to control the behavior of the agent software. (There are additional settings that can be set on the web site.)

The preferences window can be found by clicking on the preferences link at the bottom of the main window. The following settings can be controlled via the agent software:

BOINC Simple GUI Preferences Window


The agent features a messages window that allows you to view information about what the agent is doing. For example, it will tell you when it connects to the server to report work or download new work. It also will tell you when it starts and stops a specific work unit. In addition, it will report any errors that may have occurred. The messages window can be accessed by clicking on the messages link at the bottom of the main window.

BOINC Simple GUI Messages Window

Advanced View

The advanced view provides a lot more detail about what the agent software is doing. For example, it allows you to view transfers in progress; a list of work units that are cached, in progress or recently finished; a history of your credit earned; and a pie chart of the amount of disk space used by the research projects. Until now, this interface has been the only interface available for BOINC users. More information about the advanced view is available at boinc.berkeley.edu/manager.php.

BOINC Advanced View

Additional Preferences on the Web

This agent has a number of additional preferences that you can set on the web site. You can access these by selecting one of the BOINC device profiles on this page: www.worldcommunitygrid.org/ms/device/viewProfiles.do. (You must have installed the BOINC agent software before these preferences will be displayed on the web site)

Some of the important settings are:

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