BOINC@TACC

Expanding Volunteer Computing

Purpose

The BOINC@TACC project integrates volunteer computing with supercomputing and cloud computing. It provides a conduit for routing High-Throughput Computing (HTC) jobs from the TACC systems to the computing resources volunteered by individuals or institutions. The volunteered resources include desktops, laptops, tablets, and Virtual Machines (VMs) in the cloud.

Overview

Volunteer Computing (VC) is a computing model that uses donated computing cycles on the devices such as laptops, desktops, and tablets to do scientific computing. BOINC is the most popular software framework for VC and it helps in connecting the projects needing computing cycles with the volunteers interested in donating the computing cycles on their resources. It has already enabled projects with high societal impact to harness several PetaFLOPs of donated computing cycles. Given its potential in elastically augmenting the capacity of existing supercomputing resources for running HTC jobs, we have extended the BOINC software infrastructure and have made it amenable for integration with the supercomputing and cloud computing environments. We have named the extension of the BOINC software infrastructure as BOINC@TACC, and are using it to route *qualified* HTC jobs from the supercomputers at TACC to not only the typically volunteered devices but also to the cloud computing resources such as Jetstream and Chameleon.

We have also developed a web-application for TACC users so that, through the convenience of their web-browser, they can submit their HTC jobs for running on the resources volunteered by the community. The BOINC@TACC software infrastructure is open-source and can be easily adapted for use by other supercomputing centers that are interested in building their volunteer community and connecting them with the researchers needing multi-petascale computing power for their HTC jobs.

Impact

BOINC@TACC can be extremely useful for those researchers/scholars who are running low on allocations of compute-cycles on the supercomputers, or are interested in reducing the turnaround time of their HTC jobs when the supercomputers are over-subscribed. More than 750 volunteers from several countries across the globe are supporting the project, in addition to the kind support that the project is receiving from XSEDE and TACC in the form of project allocations on Jetstream and Chameleon.

Funding Source(s)

Related Link(s)

Ritu Arora

Research Associate
rauta@tacc.utexas.edu