SETI via BOINC is now officially active and live. Due to numerous requests I am creating a simple step-by-step guide to help Team Starfire crunchers move over from SETI classic" to the new BOINC platform.
There are a couple items to be taken into considering before proceeding.
First, Berkeley has conveniently put into place a facility for converting your current (or "classic") SETI@Home account into a new BOINC account. In order to take advantage of this however you will need access to the email address your signed up with SETI@Home with!!
If you do not have access to this email address, you will be required to establish a new account.
Please don't take this as a setback though; SETI BOINC uses a completely different system to compute work unit credits and therefore your current WU count won't add to your new SETI BOINC stats. Here is a screenshot of the info that does carry over:
For more information on how BOINC calculates credit, please see this faq
»How does BOINC give credit for my work?
Also note the BOINC client is not
just for SETI@Home. The BOINC client is capable of supporting many different distributed computing projects. Berkeley currently has two other projects in beta test (SETI2 and AstroPulse). There is also a Predictor@Home beta as well (for example).
The BOINC client is slightly more complex than the original SETI@Home client. However it is nothing to be intimidated by. In fact, many users will never even go into the settings and may find configuring this client even simpler than the original. One very nice feature of the BOINC client is that
the majority of the settings are saved server-side with the project sponsor (in this case Berkeley) and can be changed remotely from any web browser.
For those of use with multiple clients, this makes life much simpler.
FYI: The project home page is located at »setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/
And now, on with the show!
1. The first step obviously is going to be shutting down your old SETI
client. The old client and BOINC don't play well together. Your add-ons such
as SetiSpy and SETIDriver have become obsolete. Work unit caching is now a
feature of the client.
2. Ok, first things first. Berkeley prefers users establish a BOINC account
prior to downloading the client.
- If you already have a classic
SETI@Home account AND you have access to the email address associated
with it, you will use this
link. Enter your classic SETI@Home email address here. You will then
be forwarded to the account activation page and an email will be
- If you are a new user OR you can no longer access the
email address associated with your classic SETI@Home account, you will use
link to create a new account. Enter your current email address here.
You will then be forwarded to the account confirmation page and an email
will be sent.
3. Upon receiving your email (should just take a few
seconds), copy and paste the account ID (long random string) into the
activation page and press enter. Save this email!
4. You will now be asked if this is the first BOINC project you've
participated in. Lets go ahead and click on "This is my first BOINC project"
and be whisked off to the settings page.
5. Yes, there are a LOT of settings. The nice thing is though this is the
only time you'll be bothered with them. I recommend leaving all the
defaults, except for "Keep enough work on disk to last between x
days". I set my max to 4 days. Don't bother setting it beyond 14
days -- SETI BOINC work units expire after 14 days and will not be
processed. Feel free to experiment with the settings if you wish, but I
would think about 95% of us will never change any of the other settings.
Just make sure "do work while computer is in use" is set to "yes". Also, for
those of you with hyperthreading enabled CPUs, double check the "On
multiprocessors, use at most X
processors" is set to 2.
6. Finally! Now we get to download the client. After saving your settings,
you will automagically be forwarded to the download page
Click on the corresponding client for your operating system. If your OS is
not listed, or you would like to compile the client yourself, you may download the source
7. Now from here on out, I'm going to focus on the Windows client, because
that will be the most popular. The Windows download package comes with an
installer. After running the installer, you will see this screen:
Check the boxes as you desire and press "finish". Note that the BOINC client
uses open-GL to display graphics and therefore steals far less processer
time showing the pretty pictures. Of course you'll still see improved
efficiency by choosing to use no screen saver.
8. Now the BOINC client opens. This is the first screen new users see:
This is where you sign in, or "attach" to the project. Attaching to a
project tells the BOINC client who you are and what project you would like
to participate in, so that it may download the appropriate software and
properly credit work to your account.
Important note for
those that require the use of a proxy server
: you must configure BOINC
to use the proxy server BEOFRE attempting to attach to a project. To do
this, close the "Attach to Project" window. Go to the "Settings" menu and
choose "Proxy Server...". Adjust the settings as needed and click "OK". Now
click on the "Settings" menu once again and click on "Attach to Project..."
Remember that email you got with your account key in step 3? You'll need
that again. Copy and paste the "Project URL" (which is
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu, note this is different than the project
home page). Then copy and paste your unique "Account ID". This info should
also be displayed on the BOINC download page. Press OK.
9. You might notice the "Messages" tab beginning to flash. Whenever this tab
flashes, there is activity with the BOINC client. Let's click on the tab and
have a look:
Anytime BOINC uploads, downloads, begins a WU, finishes a WU or has some
type of problem, it will be reflected in this tab. You may also see a
message telling you BOINC is computing your CPU benchmarks. The client will
do this periodically to determine how much work to request and/or cache for
this particular machine.
From my screenshot, we can see BOINC contacted the SETI@Home servers,
requested my settings (preferences) and downloaded the newest SETI client*
and then... oops. My laptop wasn't plugged in so BOINC momentarily suspended
per my settings. After I plugged in, BOINC requested some work to crunch.
After getting the work, the client began to crunch. Next we'll click on the
10. The "Work" tab displays all work units cached on this machine and their
status. If you see one or more work units with a moving status bar, you're
up and running! Congrats!
As you can see, I have already crunched a few work units. The first few have
been completed ("Ready to report"). One is queued to be uploaded
("Uploading"). I'm currently 69% through another unit ("Running"), and there
are several more ready to go ("Ready to run").
If you'd like to see the pretty pictures SETI BOINC makes while crunching,
right click on the currently processing unit and choose "show graphics". The
visuals will pop in a new window which can be resized or maximized to full
Now you're up and crunching!!
If you need to install on multiple machines, all you need to do is repeat
steps 6 - 9 on subsequent machines and you're good to go.AND NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!
Join Team Starfire! Those
of you who were able to convert you old account over, you need not worry -
your team status is carried over. However if you created a new account,
don't forget to join Starfire
*Note: another nice feature of BOINC is that whenever a project's client is
updated, BOINC automagically downloads and installs the newest version.
However, the BOINC core client itself will never update itself.
For more detailed information on the BOINC client and how to use it, visit
the BOINC main page
check the Team Starfire SETI FAQ
updates on using BOINC.
I hope you found this helpful and useful. All comments, suggestions and
critiques are most welcome.
[added link to Portuguese
translation of this post. - Liontaur]