The term "BOINC" is short for "Berkely Open Infrastructure for Network Computing" - it is an open-source middleware for volunteer and grid-computing. It was initially developed to assist in the SETI project, but it soon became apparent that is was useful as a platform for other distributed applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics. The intent of BOINC is to make it possible for researchers to tap into the enormous processing power of personal computers all around the world.
In late 2008 BOINC's official website announced that nVidia had developed a system called CUDA that uses GPU's for scientific computing. In 2009, BOINC added support for the ATI/ AMD family of GPU's as well.
Using the GPU's many projects run between 2x and 7x faster than the former CPU-only versions.
Using the Distributed Computing system of BOINC, researchers can now split up a project's calculations which may have required weeks, months, even years to compute, and have validated rsults in only hours or days !
For research onto important areas such as the treatment of Cancer, AIDS, Malaria, Cystic Fibrosis and many others, the benefits of having the research done so quickly is self evident.
To participate, you download the BOINC Client from the BOINC site at Berkley University in California. After installing it on your computer you can connect to your choice of over 50 projects ..... now you can participate in scientific research. Why leave a computer idle when it could be doing something beneficial ?
The BOINC client (the program which "houses" each project's individual application for their work) runs in the background. It runs the scientists' applications using CPU power that would otherwise be unused. As a result, it does not interfere with your normal everyday use of the computer(s).
You can set personal preferences for your "crunching" requirements from the BOINC Client - you can select whether or not to allow BOINC to run when you are doing ANYTHING else, or you can assign a certain number of cores/ threads from your CPU.. you can even set BOINC to run and/ or access the internet, at certain times of the day.
There is no monetary reward for participating in a BOINC project but you get the satisfaction that you are helping mankind. You get recognition for work completed in a project in another way. The project's database keeps track of how much work your computer has done and issues points (usually referred to as credits). It is a metric that allows participants to monitor their individual contributions.
Similarly, credit as it applies to a Team works on a simple rule, while you are a member of a team all the credit that you earn is also added to the total credit of the Team. Please consider joining BOINC@AUSTRALIA at the time of registering for any projects to help advance an Aussie Team in the ranks of contributors. Information as to how to do this is on the projects Home site where you are registering.