Just Started Running BOINC!

I’ve been running my Debian Linux (PowerMac G4 780 MHz) file server for almost a year now. Aside from a recent near-suffocation from cat hair it has had no problems. When we’re going to be out of town I shut it down, but otherwise it runs all the time. We haven’t really noticed the addition to our power bill and in the winter it just contributes to the in-home heating, so it’s not a big deal. Especially considering that I got this machine for little or nothing.

It’s pretty nice being able to jump from my desktop to my laptop without missing a beat when working on various projects or to listen to my entire music collection from anywhere in my home. It’s also very satisfying to have a weekly automated backup to a secondary drive for all of my files. I don’t have an off-site backup solution yet, but at least I’m prepared for hardware failure.

Better late than never, but I finally got around to setting up BOINC on this server.BOINC is “Open-source software for volunteer computing and grid computing.” Basically, it turns lots of individual computers into one effective super computer. The main goal behind this software is to allow individuals to help under-budgeted research projects by allowing them to use their idle computers to process computations.

Since my PowerMac G4 spends most of its time twiddling its thumbs I thought it would be good to give it something constructive to do. In this case I have set it to help with the Rosetta@Home project:

Rosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don’t need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn’t possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

It sounds like a pretty good thing to provide assistance to. I’ll report back once my server has actually completed some work and registered on the project’s meters.

One thought on “Just Started Running BOINC!”

  1. Well, shortly after posting this I discovered that my Boinc client wasn’t doing any ‘work’. To get more familiar with the application I installed Boinc on my primary desktop, a Dell XPS420. It has been happily plugging along, crunching a lot of data with 2 of my 4 processor cores. Today I revisited running Boinc on my Debian PowerPC system, figured out what I was doing wrong, set it up so I could remotely manage it from my XPS420 only to discover that the real problem is my server’s hardware. Turns out the projects have use for specific types of hardware and don’t support hardware that isn’t broadly used. So the PowerPC isn’t even useful for something like this. It’s a sad, sad day for my ol’ G4. Guess I’ll have to try this again when I have an x86 home server.

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