Version 73 (modified by davea, 10 years ago) (diff)


Help wanted - programming

BOINC needs volunteers to help with software development. BOINC consists of several areas, each with some required technical skills:

Area Skills needed
Client C++, system programming
Manager C++, WxWidgets, GUI and graphical design, usability
Server programs C++, system programming, database design, MySQL
Web features PHP, CSS, web design, database design, MySQL
Unix build system autoconf, automake

The University of California holds the copyright on all BOINC source code. By submitting contributions to the BOINC code, you irrevocably assign all right, title, and interest, including copyright and all copyright rights, in such contributions to The Regents of the University of California, who may then use the code for any purpose that it desires.

Finding tasks

There are several ways to get tasks to work on:

Coordinating and submitting your work

Once you pick out a task:

  • Look at the source code and think about how you would implement the task.
  • Read about the BOINC software and development process.
  • Communicate with the area owner or David Anderson, and reach agreement on exactly what you're going to do and how. Don't start coding until you do this.

Submit your work (as diffs or files) to the area owner, so that they can evaluate it and possibly check it in.

Proposed features

The following development projects are available (Note: please do not add items to these lists. Suggest new items in the boinc_dev email list.)

Web features


  • Use a WYSIWYG bbcode editor such as
  • Document the classes and IDs used by the PHP code; document the "standard" stylesheets, main.css and white.css. Finish black.css, and maybe make another style.
  • Combine user page and profile. #601
  • Change default Q&A page to refer BOINC-specific questions to BOINC web site. #603
  • Convert team name HTML and team description to BBcode. #604
  • Add a Reset button to prefs (both general and project)


  • Add a mechanism where joining a team or group requires approval of an admin. #605

Difficult and/or complex:

  • Repackage the BOINC web code (PHP) as a Drupal module. Being worked on by Einstein@home.
  • Remodel the preferences system
  • Propagate profiles between projects. #608
  • Same for forum preferences.
  • Add new profile features: #609
    • list of recent posts and threads this person created, on this and other projects.
    • other features from social networking sites?
    • Add ‘referral’ mechanism: new user creates account, enters email of ‘referrer’ (or goes to URL that has it embedded). Give referrer a fraction of credit (or a 1-time bonus).

List referrals on user page (show only those still active). Add new referral table to DB.

  • Make it easy for teams to offer a client download that features their skin, and pre-register the user on that team for any projects he attaches to. #610



  • Create Makefiles and project files to build the sample applications using MinGW and Dev-C++.


  • Write example FORTRAN application and Makefiles/ project files.

Difficult and/or complex:

  • Write an example compound application (and suggest API revisions to make this easier).
  • Investigate the crlibm library for generating identical results across processors (or at least reducing the number of cases for HR).
  • Java support: core client checks for the existence of JVM, reports version to scheduler. Write Java wrapper (runs JVM, gives it jar files). Note: Sztaki has already done some part of this.
  • Same, .NET



  • Keep track of the statistics of how long it takes to upload files, and to report results. Use that info to improve compute deadlines (e.g., subtract the 2 sigma point for both).
  • Add an "expiration delay" for files: delete them only after they haven't been used for X time.
  • Core client monitors total CPU usage, limits its own CPU usage so that total is < 100%.
  • Monitor working-set size of non-BOINC apps; don't allow total to exceed physical RAM. This could eliminate the need for memory-usage preferences. Note: this might be tricky because parts of a process's working set is shared with other processes. Some study is needed to figure out the best approach.
  • GUI RPC to tell apps to checkpoint and quit.
  • Keep track of upload/download sizes, show weekly/monthly transfer totals.


  • Use multiple disks. This would increase available space, and (if slot dirs spread across disks) would allow I/O-intensive apps to run more efficiently. Would have to remove assumption that project dir is ../../projects/X relative to slot.
  • Have the core client sense CPU temperature and throttle CPU if it goes too high. Open-source software for collecting sensor data (on Linux) is available.
  • Windows: get proxy config info directly from the OS.
  • After an applications exits or is killed (for whatever reason) make sure (after a few second delay) that its subprocesses are gone too. Don't restart the job until this happens. Unix: use process groups and killpg().
  • More generally: make a better state machine for shutting down apps: tell them to checkpoint, wait a little, tell them to quit, clean up straggler processes.
  • Same, but for suspend: if we tell a client to suspend and it's still using lots of CPU after a few seconds, abort it (or something).
  • Integrate BitTorrent (libtorrent?) with the core client (Janus Kristensen is working on this).
  • Log result start/ends (for use by 3rd-party software like BoincView).
  • Prevent disk space usage from exceeding user preferences, and enforce resource shares, with file deletion according to project policy.
  • Vista: if get 'about to shut down' msg from OS, stop apps immediately (don't tell them to checkpoint). Investigate.


  • Check if host is configured to go into Standby mode after X idle minutes. If so, ask user if they want to let BOINC run for X minutes, then go into standby right after that.

BOINC Manager


  • Show credit numbers (especially totals) with thousands-groups separators (e.g., commas)
  • If using an AMS, put link to AMS (or user page) in sys tray popup, elsewhere.


  • Reimplement the BOINC Manager so that it is:
    • Configurable via an XML file
    • Skinnable via CSS
    • nicer-looking than the WxWidgets? version

Server and Back End


  • Add a mechanism to recover from situations where the scheduler fails to send its reply message.
    • Add a reply_pending field to host table. Set at start of scheduler, clear after reply message sent.
    • If get a request from host with reply_pending==1, scan for lost results. This would replace the <resend_lost_results> mechanism.

NOTE: this is not a good design; successful send doesn't imply successful receipt.

  • XML stats: add lat/long to user record?


  • Enforce file immutability. I.e., have create_work() check if any file is already in the download hierarchy, and if so make sure that it is the same. Use MD5s for efficiency.
  • When using HR, if the scheduler has sent one result of a WU using a particular app version, it should use the same app version for other results from that WU. Otherwise, when new app versions are released, results may incorrectly be marked as invalid. NOTE: not really needed; create a new app instead.


  • Add support for MPI-type applications: try to schedule all the jobs in a batch more or less simultaneously. NOTE: being done by Volpex project from U. of Houston.
  • Implement a mechanism so that server software detects incompatible database format. (related to #715)
  • Add project_specific_info field to host table (text). This stores, for each app, the ID of last reference WU completed, and the info returned by that WU (as part of its stderr output, in a <app_info> tag). ?? how to select an app version based on contents of app_info? This could be used, e.g., to do app-specific benchmarking, to gather info on the host hardware or software configuration, or to periodically check the numerical hardware.