Sun Funds First Open Software Platform For Public Computing

12/18/2003 - Sun Microsystems, Inc (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced it will fund the worldwide release of a new generation of SETI@home, a scientific experiment managed by a group of researchers at the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley that uses Internet-connected computers in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Based on Sun hardware, the SETI@home project has developed a software platform, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), that makes it easy for academic and industrial scientists to create public computing projects more inexpensively and quickly than previously possible and allows PC users to participate in several projects simultaneously.

Public computing is a new paradigm, joining supercomputing, cluster computing and grid computing as ways of solving compute-intensive problems. This type of computing is much different from other types of computing which involve sharing managed resources among institutions. It has the potential to deliver unprecedented amounts of computing power and storage. Since BOINC keeps track of individual computers, it has twice the database throughput requirements of the original SETI@home.

A wide array of Sun hardware contributes to the success of SETI@home, including a Sun Enterprise 3500 server, three Sun Enterprise 450 servers, four Sun Fire 480R servers and two Netra servers running the Solaris Operating Environment. In addition to a number of Sun servers, SETI@home is powered by several Sun workstations that are utilized by SETI@home, such as a Sun Ultra 60 workstation, two Ultra 2 workstations and five Ultra 10 workstations. Sun's hardware reliability, security features, and excellent technical support have played a key role in SETI@home's success.

"Public computing has been very effective for applications that appeal to people and need lots of computing power," says Dr. David P. Anderson, director of SETI@home and BOINC. "These applications exist in many areas of science. It's a great way to get people involved in science, not just as bystanders but as participants."

BOINC is a full-featured, free software system for creating public distributed computing projects consisting of several components. Its servers system manages work queuing and scheduling, account management, platforms and versioning. It provides numerous project management and maintenance tools, and provides Web-based participant features such as profiles and teams. The client side consists of a "core client" application, available for all key platforms that manage computation, storage and communication.

"The future of the supercomputing industry belongs to open architectures and public computing - which Sun actively champions and implements. As such, Sun is committed to advancing academic research through its involvement with the SETI project at Berkeley," said Joerg Schwarz, group manager for Scientific & Engineering Computing, Global Education and Research at Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Thanks to the use of public computing, the world's computer users can also play a part in advancing academic research in other areas of study."

BOINC is available for free public beta testing under a public license at Projects can be created by simply downloading the server software, porting the application to the client framework and publicizing the project. PC owners around the world can run the BOINC client and sign up for whatever projects they wish, supporting scientific research according to their interests and priorities.

About SETI@home
The SETI@home project, based at the University of California, Berkeley, uses the computing power of the home computers of over 4.6 million volunteers worldwide to analyze SETI data collected from the giant radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The SETI@home project was launched on May 17, 1999. Since then, the project has grown to include volunteers in 226 countries. To date, the server has analyzed signals from 30% of the visible sky at least three times. SETI@home can be found on the World Wide Web at

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, Sun Enterprise, Sun Fire, Ultra and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the US and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Previous Page | News by Category | News Search

If you found this page useful, bookmark and share it on: