Create a Virtual Campus Supercomputing Center (VCSC)

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Universities and other research institutions can use BOINC to create a 'Virtual Campus Supercomputing Center' (VCSC). A VSCS can provide university researchers with the computational power of a very large cluster, for a small fraction of the cost.

A VCSC is a BOINC project whose applications are supplied by campus researchers. The computing power is supplied by campus PCs - computing lab machines, desktop and laptops belonging to faculty, staff, and students, and home PCs belonging to alumni.

As an example, suppose that a VSCS recruits the participation of 10,000 PCs, running an average of 50% of the time. In terms of computing power, this is roughly equivalent to a 5,000-node cluster, for which the initial hardware cost is roughly $5 million, with ongoing yearly energy and maintenance costs of at least $1 million. The VSCS, in contrast, has hardware costs of about $10K.

Creating a VCSC

A VCSC is typically created by a campus unit involved in computing and information technology, by a research unit, or as a collaboration between such units. It involves the following functions, which typically would be carried out by different staff:

Benefits of a VCSC

The benefits of creating a VCSC include

Getting started

Technical information about porting applications and setting up a BOINC server is here. Budget at least a few person-months for getting a working system running.

For more information about setting up a VCSC, please contact us.

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Last modified 12:44 AM UTC, October 17 2012.
Copyright © 2017 University of California. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.