BOINC@TACC project: provides a conduit for routing high-throughput computing jobs from TACC resources to the BOINC server.
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BOINC@TACC project

This project provides a conduit for routing High-Throughput Computing (HTC) jobs from TACC rsources to a BOINC server, and from there, to the BOINC clients (which run on volunteered hardware resources). The project is funded through NSF Award #1664022.

This repository includes the following:

  1. Front-end code for the BOINC@TACC website.
  2. Scripts and API that run on the BOINC server for pulling job requests from TACC resources and pushing the requests to the BOINC clients.
  3. A back-end script that can be run on TACC resources for determining if a job can be run on BOINC clients, or whether it should be run on TACC resources only.
  4. A system for generating docker images from source code.
  5. A mechanism for running BOINC jobs directly inside a Docker container instead of running them in VirtualBox. This is useful for institutional donors who may have volunteered VMs in the cloud.

The project leverages the boinc-server-docker software developed by Marius Millea

Following folders are available in this repository:

  • user-interface: Creates a web interface to allow researchers to submit and track jobs.
  • api: Designed for large job batches.
  • applications: Dockerized applications for running on BOINC clients.
  • stampede2-backend: A command-line interface for submitting BOINC jobs from the Stampede2 supercomputer at TACC. This script can be run on any Linux system that has the SLURM scheduler available.

To execute the jobs submitted through the BOINC server, that is, to become a BOINC client, download BOINC and Virtualbox if not installed already. Then, add the project using the following (where SERVER_IP is the IP address of the BOINC server/project website):


The BOINC server will automatically recognize your system as a volunteer and will submit jobs to it when they are available. For the TACC-2-BOINC server project, after July 30th 2018, the following URL can be used to add the project to the BOINC client:

Installation Guide

  1. Install Docker and Docker-compose in their most recent versions
    Note: Both docker and docker-compose require sudo access, to avoid this problem:
   sudo groupadd docker
   sudo gpasswd -a $USER docker
   # Log out/in to activate these changes
  1. Follow the installation instructions provided by boinc-server-docker
    • Modify the docker-compose.yml to make it similar to the one provided in this repository. This updated compose file opens the ports necessary for API usage. The only changes needed are in the ports for mysql and apache containers.
    • Most likely, this server will be installed on a cloud server. If that is the case, do not compose up directly. It is necessary to specify the IP of the system using the following syntax:
    • If not using root, it is possible that an error appears about Docker not being able to connect to the daemon. If this is the case, use sudo to obtain root access, and use sudo for all docker and/or docker-compose commands.
	git clone
	cd boinc-server-docker
	docker-compose pull
	# Enter the changes on the docker-compose
	curl > docker-compose.yml
	URL_BASE=http://IP_ADDRESS docker-compose up -d
  1. Wait a few seconds until the make_project container sets up the BOINC server and its mysql database This process is complete when a webpage is accessible on SERVER_IP/boincserver

  2. Set-up basic administrative credentials

    • Execute docker ps do obtain all the data about the BOINC containers. If the setup is done correctly, there is an apache container.
    • Log into the apache container by using docker exec -it {apache container ID} bash
    • Follow the guide in BOINC HTMLOps to set -up an administrative account with .htpasswd
      • .htpasswd is located in /root/project/html/ops
    • Login into the administrative BOINC page at SERVER_IP/boincserver_ops with the username and password provided above
	cd /root/html/ops
	htpasswd -c .htpasswd $NEWUSERNAME
  1. Clone this repository
    • If git is not installed, do it by executing: apt-get update && apt-get install git-core -y
    • If not already there, cd /root/project
    • Clone via: git clone
    • cd TACC-2-BOINC
	cd /root/project
	git clone
  1. Establish user email credentials
    • Run the appropriate bash script to set up the email and password
    • The basic set-up only allows for gmail, for all others, modify both ./api/ and ./
    • Be sure to have input the correct name and password, to change them again, change /root/.bashrc
    • The same applies to the Docker, MIDAS credentials - MIDAS is a software component for creating docker images from source-code
    • Run the external Reef set-up to connect to an external container. The process is entirely automated and designed so that user files are stored in a different system.
    • Log out of the container and then log back in again so the changes will take effect Do:
	 docker exec -it {APACHE SERVER} bash
  1. Run the setup file
    • It will install all the necessary packages, python libraries, set-up the internal Redis database, properly locate the files, set-up the APIs, Reef cloud storage, and automatic job processing
    • The set-up file will also automatically prompt to enter the credentials for the email. Use caution, since an error would require to manually fix the /root/.bashrc file
	 cd /root/project/TACC-2-BOINC
  1. Create organization accounts

    • A new token must be assigned to each new user (researcher who wants to submit BOINC jobs)
    • There are 2 options on assigning tokens:
      • Create one automatically through (deprecated)
      • Create organization accounts
    • Organization accounts are preferred since they allow users to sign up in an easier way
    • Furthermore, users signing through this way will not have to provide further email authorization
    • To create an organization, following the instructions below and enter inputs accordingly
    • An automatic Reef account will be created for each user signing up through this method
    • Organizations themselves are required to submit jobs using the Stampede2 backend
    • Only one organization is needed. However, more can be created in order to separate and differentiate users
    • For more instructions on supplying tokens through organizations, check the API documentation
    • To do this:
	cd /root/project/html/user/token_data

Future Use and Complains

  1. Disconnecting the APIs, including Reef:
    • Disconnecting the APIs will not delete any files currently saved in Reef
	cd /root/project
	./ -down
  1. Pulling the APIs up again:
	cd /root/project
	./ -up
  1. I just submitted a job and it does not appear in the results ops page

    • boinc-docker-server needs to download the images before any further processing is done. For large images (> 1 Gb) this process can take time if the server has a low amount of RAM.
  2. I received a job with an empty compressed results file
    Try to obtain your results in a regular file, since those are the files that our file retrieval tool supports. In general, use the general outputs or texts files. Avoid images and binary files for results. Using plotting inside a BOINC job may cause problems, since most graphic libraries assume a screen.