With COVID-19, a lot of us have donated our spare CPU/GPU cycles to BOINC, specifically the Rosetta@Home project.
What Is BOINC?
For those of you not familiar with BOINC, it’s a distributed computing platform that splits complex tasks and hands them out to computers all over the world, in essence creating one giant supercomputer. The idea is that “many hands make short work”.
How Can I Get Involved?
There have been a lot of guides on this topic, so I won’t reproduce them here. If you’re running a standard Windows/Linux PC, navigate on over to Rosetta@Home to get started with the Rosetta project. It’s a very quick and easy install.
If you’re running on unRAID, check out the following guide:
How To Stop BOINC From Downloading a New Work Unit (WU)
By default, BOINC will continue to download and keep a new set of tasks for your computer to work on, generating a buffer of tasks. But let’s say you’re going to be out of town and won’t be leaving your computer on. Or due to some other extenuating circumstances, you know that you won’t be able to complete the tasks before the deadline. How can you gracefully complete the tasks currently assigned to you before you leave?
Thankfully, this can be accomplished by setting “No new tasks” under the project in the BOINC Manager:
- Open the BOINC Manager and change to the “advanced view”:
- Navigate to the Project tab > Highlight the project (in my case, Rosetta@Home) > Toggle the “No new tasks” button:
That’s it. You’ve now committed your PC to gracefully completing its currently downloaded set of tasks.
Just one additional note: If for some reason you have orphaned tasks (by not completing them by the deadline), you should know that there has not been any “scientific knowledge” permanently lost. Each project distributes the same task to several workstations just in case of such a situation (or an error).