What are the advantages of running World Community Grid on a computer's graphics card? A few years ago, the graphics card manufacturers realized that graphics cards could perform certain types of computations significantly faster than the central processing unit (CPU) inside a computer. As a result, they extended the capabilities of some graphics cards so that they could run tasks that were written in a specialized development language. As a result, applications that are modified to use this specialized development language and can leverage the graphics cards specialized capability appropriately, can potentially run many times faster on the graphics card than on the CPU.
The advantage of running World Community Grid on your computer's graphic card is the fact that you can expect to complete more research then you would be able to complete using just your CPU.
However, graphics card processing is different than CPU processing in that graphics card processing does not have the same sophisticated operating system capabilities that allow us to make sure that running the research does not interfere with your use of your computer. Many graphics cards can run World Community Grid without any interference, however, some will cause your computer to be slow in responding to you.
What graphics cards are not able to participate in the Help Conquer Cancer research project? Certain graphics cards do not have the hardware instructions or are too slow to run this project effectively. As a result , some cards will be excluded from participation.
The cards that will be excluded listed below. We will periodically review the system for additional cards that should be added to this list.
How do I find out what type of graphics card is installed in my computer? If you have a computer with a Windows operating system, you may take the following steps to see what type of graphics card is installed in your computer.
select the "start" button in the bottom left hand of your display
type in "devmgmt.msc" (without the quotes)
expand the file entitled "device adapters" and your graphics card will be listed
How do I set my preferences so that World Community Grid will use my graphics card? By default, World Community Grid will not use your graphics card. You will need to enable the option to allow World Community Grid to use your graphics card. This option is available on either the My Projects page or on the Device Profile page. This option is labeled 'If my computer can process work on my graphics card, then please send me work to run on my graphics card for the projects that I have selected above.' A member may check or uncheck this option.
How do I set my preferences so that World Community Grid will use my graphics card while I am actively using my computer? Once you have allowed World Community Grid to utilize your graphics card, we only use your graphics card while you are not actively using your computer.
If you want World Community Grid to use your graphics card all the time, you must enable this option. This option is available on the Device Profile page under the custom options section. This option is labeled "Do work on my graphics card while computer is in use?". A member may select either "yes" or "no".
Will I be able to select to run work units only on my CPU, or only on my graphics card, or both? Yes. There are separate and independent settings for World Community Grid to run on either your CPU or on your graphics card.
By default, World Community Grid is set up to only run work using your CPU and not on your graphics card. The CPU preference is available on the Device Profile page under the custom options section. This option is labeled 'Allow research to run on my CPU?'. A member may select either "yes" or "no".
If you want World Community Grid to run on your graphics card. This option is available on the My Projects page or on the Device Profile page. This option is labeled 'If my computer can process work on my graphics card, then please send me work to run on my graphics card for the projects that I have selected above.' A member may check or uncheck this option. Please note that currently only the Help Conquer Cancer project has work units available for graphics card processing.
If you have more than one graphics card, can you limit which graphics card is used? Yes. In order to do this, you have to use the <exclude_gpu> tag in the cc_config.xml file and be using the latest version of the BOINC client from Berkeley. This is outlined here. Please note that this is only possible with version 7.0 of the BOINC client and higher.
If I have more than one graphics card on my computer, how do I let World Community Grid run on all of my graphics cards? Yes. In order to do this, you have to use the <use_all_gpus> tag in the cc_config.xml file. Instructions to do this are available here.
What if my computer stutters while World Community Grid is utilizing my graphics card? Due to the nature of running research applications, it is possible that running World Community Grid on your graphics card while you are using your computer could interfere with the normal use of your computer. If you encounter this, then we suggest that you try the option to only allow World Community Grid to use your graphics card when you are not actively using your computer. This option is available on the Device Profile page under the custom options section. This option is labeled "Do work on my graphics card while computer is in use?". Select "no" and save.
How will statistics be updated for graphics card participation? World Community Grid will award run time based on the elapsed time from when a work unit is started and when it finishes running. Credit and result counts will be awarded in the same manner as CPU participation.
Will there be a badge for graphics card participation? No. Your contributions utilizing your graphics card will contribute to a specific research project and count towards earning a badge for that project.
Will you make graphics card processing available for other research projects? General purpose computing on a graphics card is not an automatic transition and requires modifications and optimizations to the underlying algorithms of an application to realize performance increases. In addition, not all algorithms are well suited to general purpose computing on a graphics card and may not receive performance improvements.
We will work with the research scientists to make projects available on graphics cards if feasible and applicable to advancing the science application. However, it is up to the research scientists to enable their application to utilize graphics card technology.
Does the graphics card application include a graphic screen saver showing what is running? No. The graphics card application does not include a screen saver. If you have selected to run work units on your graphics card, which is the primary display card, we recommend that you select the least intensive screen saver available, such as the "blank" screen saver option.