Plan classes are policies that allow the BOINC scheduler to decide:
- whether an application should run on a particular host;
- what resources it will use (# of CPUs and GPUs, optionally memory usage)
- how fast it is expected to run.
Each app version has an associated plan class; multiple app versions may have the same plan class. See how to specify an app version's plan class. Each plan class has a textual name. The default plan class (whose name is empty) is for single-threaded CPU applications.
There are a number of predefined plan classes (see below). In addition, you can define your own plan classes in two ways:
Predefined plan classes
The following plan classes are predefined:
- An application that can use anywhere from 1 to 64 threads, and whose speedup with N CPUs is .95N. It is passed a command-line argument --nthreads N.
- A non-CPU-intensive application that uses 1% of a CPU (this will cause the BOINC client 6.7+ to run it at non-idle priority).
- A CPU app that requires the SSE3 CPU feature.
- An app that runs in a 32-bit VirtualBox VM
- An app that runs in a 64-bit VirtualBox VM
GPU plan classes
Note: plan classes containing the substrings 'nvidia', 'cuda', and 'ati' are reserved for GPU applications. Plan classes for AMD GPUs must contain the substring 'ati'; plan classes for NVIDIA GPUs much contain either 'nvidia' or 'cuda' as a substring; plan classes for OpenCL applications must include 'opencl' as a substring.
The following plan classes for NVIDIA are pre-defined:
- NVIDIA GPU, compute capability 1.0+, driver version 177.00+, 254+ MB RAM.
- Requires driver version 190.38+, 384+ MB RAM.
- Requires compute capability 2.0+ and CUDA version 3.0+
- Requires OpenCL 1.1+ support
For ATI the situation is more complex because AMD changed the DLL names from amd* to ati* midstream; applications are linked against a particular name and will fail if it's not present.
- CAL version 1.0.0+, amd* DLLs
- CAL version 1.3+, amd* DLLs
- CAL version 1.3+, ati* DLLs
- CAL version 1.4+, ati* DLLs
- OpenCL 1.1+
You can verify which DLLs your application is linked against by using Dependency Walker against your application. If your executable contains DLL names prefixed with 'amd' then your plan class will be ati or ati13amd depending on which version of the CAL SDK you are using. If the DLL names are prefixed with 'ati' then use the ati13ati or ati14 plan classes.
In all cases (NVIDIA and ATI), the application is assumed to use 1 GPU, and the CPU usage is assumed to be 0.5% the FLOPS of the GPU. If there is a choice, the scheduler will give preference to later classes, i.e. it will pick cuda23 over cuda.