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Current SETI@home Issues and The Clean Energy Project – Phase 2

With SETI@home currently running out of work units and, according to the following technical news posts, no hope for the situation to be solved this week, I had to look for another project to fill the gap and keep my computer busy. That meant I once again went through the list to see if any “green” ones are available or I’ll have to likely fall back to some other astronomy one, like I did when SETI@home had such issues in the past. I am, after all, planning to take on a “green” one when I’ll get a new computer and set it to split the time equally between it and SETI@home, but there are always very few, if any, of those, so was wondering…
What I found was that one of the projects currently available via World Community Grid is The Clean Energy Project – Phase 2, which is searching for better materials for solar panels, so I signed up for that, by only activating it on the project list. If you want to do the same, you must be careful, since by default all the other projects are selected on your World Community Grid account and this one is not, so you’ll need to change those settings before attaching your BOINC client to the project.

Since that default selection is caused by the project’s system requirements, I would point out that those RAM requirements are exaggerated, as I haven’t seen one work unit use more than about 180 Mb, and currently I have two processing that use about 150 Mb together, though the exact amount varies significantly in time, as does the amount of time required by each work unit. On my old Core 2 Duo E8400 running at the standard 3.0 GHz, I had them complete in anything between three and 13 and a half hours so far without any showing up as invalid, though the listed estimated computation size was similar, so there’s no way to know. The only clear thing is that the project can use a few Gb of disk space if you allow it to download and process multiple work units at once and it will keep your drive rather busy quite frequently, so if possible you may want to set the BOINC data folder on a drive that’s quiet and separate from your primary one, to reduce the performance impact if you allow it to run while the computer is in use.
Check the tutorials on the Clean Energy Project site for how to change settings to let it do that if interested, as by default it’ll only download one work unit at a time. In fact, you may want to check those recommendations either way, and also, if you want to pick a limit for the number of work units that can be downloaded at once, keep in mind that each will be processed by a single CPU core, but also that World Community Grid tends to set relatively short deadlines for the results. What I see right now is ten days.

If any of this sounds interesting and you don’t already participate, you should also keep in mind that, while some projects allow you to register straight from the BOINC client, World Community Grid does not, so you’ll need to register there before attempting to attach to the project. In addition, version 7.4 of BOINC seems to have brought back a bug that existed quite some time ago, before version 7, and which prevents attaching to World Community Grid from the BOINC Manager due to the fact that a user name is required instead of the e-mail address. As such, you should either install, or stick with, an earlier version, or use the command line option, taking the account key from your World Community Grid profile. Remains to be seen when they’ll fix it to no longer require such workarounds.


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