Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Some Super Cool BOINC Stats and on the Optimization of BOINC

BOINC is just a synthetic super computer. It basically (figuratively, not literally) takes everyone's home personal computers around the globe and combines them together to create a veritable Voltron of Science. It doesn't cause slow down to your computer either, it just uses spare CPU resources when they are available. The three most popular programs on BOINC, I believe, are World Community Grid, Rosetta@Home, and Seti@Home.

I'm just going to focus on the two most popular for the sake of simplicity (in making my argument following the presentation of the cool cool statistics).

Ok, so now here are the basic stats of BOINC's current computational power levels:

What does the scouter say about BOINC's power level !?

Total BOINC processing power (average recorded as of Dec. 14, 2012): 7.3 petaFLOPS

Total processing power of Seti@home (average as of Nov. 12, 2012): 597 teraFLOPS

Total processing power of World Community Grid (average as of Dec. 6, 2012): 501 teraFLOPS


Alright, what's a "FLOP" you may ask? It stands for "floating point operations per second" and it is a measure of computational speed, or a power level if you will. A "peta" is a flop to the 15th power (meaning fifteen zeros after the number) and a "tera" flop has only 12 zeros after the number. So, a "petaflop" is 7300000000000000 floating point operations per second. Pretty snazzy eh, all them flopsy-mopsies?

The synthetic Voltron super computer is currently running at 7.3 petaflops, and it is running about a dozen programs on it. Programs like Seti@Home, Rosetta@Home, MilkyWay@Home, World Community Grid, and others.

The two most popular programs that home users are setting their BOINC up to are Seti and WCG.

That's the basics.

Optimizing BOINC

Okay, now I'll get into my opinions on optimizing BOINC which are as follows,

(A) Get More People On BOINC
(B) Make Faster Processors
(C) Stop Giving a Fuck about Greasy-Ass Aliens that you're Never gonna Find

Firstly, (A) there are currently 2.5 million users who have connected their personal computers to the BOINC network. That's not half bad.

Yet, it is estimated that the total number of personal computers in human households is nearing the 2 billion mark (likely by 2014). So, that means only about 0.125 % of global humans are contributing to BOINC presently.

If BOINC is generating a pretty decent 7.3 petaFLOPS off of 0.125% of the total computers in households around the world then what would it run at on 100%? It still has 99.875% of its theoretical potential at this juncture. That's really interesting, it's not even running at 1% of its capabilities.

Yes! Yes! I Feel like 5.84 exaFLOPS!
Theoretically, with 2 billion household computers Voltroned-up to the grid...it could run at 5.84 exaFLOPS (which is one level higher than a petaFLOP). Cool.

Nextly, (B) is sort of obvious. If new processor chips are designed to speed up computers...then obviously it would compound the compounds of each unit and increase the floppage.

It's (C) that's the one I think is the least obvious and most controversial method of optimzing BOINC....

Stop Giving a Care about those Silly old Aliens

Out of the 2.5 million or so users that are hooked up to BOINC, more than half are running Seti@Home. About 1.3 million boinc users run seti.

What is seti? Researchers send out high frequency radio signal into the darkest coldest regions of outer space...and hope aliens hear them and respond.

The ones on Seti are likely the most hardcore geeks too with the fastest home computers, and they are using up 597 teraFLOPS of BOINC's current power level to try and find some greasy-ass dirty aliens in outer space. Yeah, I dunno 'bout this.

When I first got BOINC I looked at the @homes they had, and back then it was mostly space stuff. I chose Milkyway@home which is trying to map out the known universe. I never gave one iota of interest to Seti@home. I thought it was dumb. I know that statement will make a lot of geeks very mad, but it's true.

When I first heard about IBM's World Community Grid and how it uses BOINC flops to conduct research on diseases, clean energy, plant proteins, and other more down to earth things...I immediately downloaded it and left just a few resources for milkyway@home and gave most of my computer's idle resources to World Community Grid.
No. Let's not...

Down to earth research is far more interesting sounding and beneficial. Using global computational power to search for aliens is a huge waste and I think everyone pretty much knows that.

Jodie Foster isn't gonna find some alien signal from shooting out radio waves, a Vulcan isn't gonna come down to earth and teach us how to make spaceships, or anything like that. That's just in movies guys, not real life.

Getting the 1.3 million Seti@Home users to switch onto a less pointless program (go to MilkyWay even if you want to stay in an outer space one), is another great way to optimize BOINC. I truly believe that Seti is a big waste, sorry....but it's true.

Forget stupid aliens...

END NOTE: If you are interested in BOINC, you might want to find out what sort of power your geographic area runs off of. I've been reading lately (thanks to a heads up from a friend of mine) that keeping computers idle in an area where the grid runs off of coal (or other fossil fuels) is highly inefficient and highly undesirable. Coal is the most pollutant form of energy production and since some BOINC programs are even about pollution reduction and clean energy research...it would be ironic to run BOINC off of energy from burning coal.

Places like South Africa, Poland, China (though the Three Gorges Dam is a GREAT start to help them get off of coal), Kazahkstan, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, both Koreas, Australia, parts of the United States (Texas and Ohio are almost all coal powered, whilst Vermont and Rhode Island are coal free), and parts of Canada (Alberta is all coal for instance, while many others are coal free).

It's possible that a globally interlinked, highly efficient, up-time/down-time fluctuation-calibrated, minimal polluting hydro-electric power grid would be desirable for the optimal optimization of the BOINC network.

While one half of the world is awake, the uptime is calibrated to their hemisphere, while the other side sleeps the downtimed lesser-load would be optimal time used for computations and calculations benefiting science and humanity (and vice-versa while the other half of the world goes to sleep at the end of their day). Thus exercising the utmost efficient use of energy in order to balance both the rat-race-to-and-fro world and the calculations/research necessary to the advancement of science and the livingry of humanity.


  1. John Lewis HighsmithJune 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    The project SETI@HOME does NOT send signals into space, hoping for an answer.

    The project analyses signals received at the radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico for certain characteristics.


  2. Sorry. You're right.

    I still think that whether it is sending or receiving the signals...they are still attempting to locate aliens.

    I may be completely wrong, but it is still my opinion (mainly based on the Drake Equation) that ever finding an radio signal proving the existence of alien intelligence is very very unlikely.

  3. http://www.seti.org/drakeequation

    It seems the opinion of SETI is that the Drake Equation proves that alien intelligence is possible to find.

    I read that equation and see the statistical probability of ever finding what you are looking for...and that equation proves that it is highly unlikely if not impossible.

  4. yeah, you kinda forgot to mention that seti with its controversity and visionarity founded the BOINC infrastructure AND made a ton of people aware of it. If it werent for Seti, BOINC would not have enough users today to produce that amount of FLOPs it does. And it wouldnt even come close to (CurrentTotalComputationalPower - ComputationalPower"Wasted"OnSeti)

  5. Yes I agree Anon...yet, in all honestly do you think they will ever find any aliens?