Monday, July 22, 2013

BOINC on Android!

I will admit after the Raspberry Pi frustrations I was skeptical about feasibly running any projects on any non x86 processor.  Though through all the endless searching for how to get things working properly on the Raspberry Pi I did come across a few groups working hard and getting decent results getting certain BOINC Projects to run on Android Devices.  I did not give it much thought at the time, because I had no Android Devices.

Fast Forward to today, having somewhat recently come into possession of a Nexus 7 through a promotional offer with my TV and Internet Provider, I have been enjoying the wonderfulness of Android devices as my first tablet backed by a good sized and fairly well rounded App store.  (Sorry nook, did you ever think that is why you can't really survive?)  While a few times the thought has crossed my mind that I should look into setting up BOINC on the Nexus 7 mostly I wrote it off as a bit too busy for that distraction right now.

Then I got a wonderful email from World Community Grid. With a Subject line of "World Community Grid: Now on Android!"  You can bet I did a little dance on the inside.  Now it took some time for me to realize WCG does not have their own Android App but rather there is a BOINC app available with a handful of compatible projects available for you to select.  I have not had much time to play with it yet, but some initial positive opinions.

There are two great power conscious options available.  One is the one that I would have been shocked and almost considered removing the app right away if it was not there, and FYI it seems to be preset to not be selected.  That is: "Run while on Battery."   Like I said this one is automatically not checked, meaning it won't run while you do not have it plugged into the wall.  This is a great thing because my Nexus already has enough little things running in the background where if I don't power it off, but simply let it sleep, 4 days later the battery is nearly dead, or completely dead, if it is not plugged in.

The second nice option, and I am sure it has a reason beyond just nice to have it is:  "Do not run when battery is below: XX%."  While this may mostly be aimed at being tied with the above option, this one is automatically set to 90%, which seemed a bit high, but call it suggestion bias, I figured I likely shouldn't bump it lower than 70% in case it actually flirts with that line by drawing so much power.

Either the nexus has a far more powerful processor than I thought, or they have special tasks in either size or crunching needs tailored to ARM processors, as in the time it took me to write this post ( about 20 minutes so far), I downloaded 4 tasks, and 1 is 7.5% complete and another is 5.5% complete.

World Community Grid Signature