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How to run BOINC on Google Compute Engine Cloud Platform Tutorial


Google offers a $300, 60 day trial period for their cloud computing platform. The platform allows you to create Linux virtual machines that run on Google's cloud infrastructure. Here is a step by step guide to running BOINC projects on this platform.


1 - go to cloud.google.com. Sign in with your Google account and complete the registrations necessary to 'Start your free trial'


2 - create a new compute engine project

3 - 'spin up a compute engine VM'


4 - create a 'high CPU' instance using the 'backports-debian-7-wheezy' image


5 - once Google has created the instance, click on it in the project management console. Select 'Open in browser window' from the SSH drop down to start interacting with the VM instance.


6 - you will see a command prompt like this


7 - for each of the BOINC projects that you want to run in the VM, log in to your account for the project and click on 'Account Keys'. (It is assumed that you already have BOINC accounts created. Creating BOINC project accounts is beyond the scope of this tutorial)



8 - make note of the URL and account key shown on the account keys page

     * note for Rosetta@home - there is no 'Account Keys' link for Rosetta. You can enter the following in the SSH terminal to determine your account key for Rosetta:

     $ boinccmd --lookup_account https://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/ EMAIL PWD

     replacing EMAIL and PWD with your Rosetta project credentials.


9 - in the SSH terminal enter the following commands:


      $ sudo apt-get update
      $ sudo apt-get install boinc


      for each project that you want to run, enter:
      $ boinccmd --project_attach PROJECT_URL AUTH_KEY
      replacing PROJECT_URL and AUTH_KEY with the values that you gathered in step#8


      $ boinccmd --set_run_mode always
      $ boinccmd --set_network_mode always


      The following commands are useful for monitoring the state of BOINC:
      $ boinccmd --get_simple_gui_info
      $ boinccmd --get_tasks
      $ boinccmd --get_file_transfers


10 - once BOINC has connected with the servers and downloaded tasks, you should see both CPU cores running near 100%

      $ top



11 - your instance has been successfully created and configured. You will see the CPU graph in the project console running at 100%.



12 - looking at the pricing, the instance will cost approximately $0.06 per hour. In order to use up the $300 trial credit within the 60 day trial period, we can run 4 instances. ($0.06/hr * 24 hr * 60 days = $86 per instance for 60 days)


13 - copy your instance and repeat steps 4 through 11 for each instance that you create.



14 - when complete, you will see your 4 instances running at 100% CPU usage




Tutorial by community member Drehb