Let me explain it briefly, distributed computing works by installing a small piece of software on your pc and use it to connect to a large network of computers just like yours, all those computers are instructed to work on different bits (or units) of the same project, which usually involves huge mathematical calculations, which turns into huge computational power needs.
There are a lot of projects using distributed computing, and some of them rely on Boinc, the Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. Boinc is also the name of the software that will allow your computer to take part in the distributed network we explained before, and it works by using the CPU or the GPU on your computer when you’re not using them.
The first thing you want to do is install the Boinc software, you can download it in a variety of flavors, I’ve created a slackware64 package for current to be run on a headless system, so it won’t have a gui but only command line tools, just install it the usual way and you’re ready to go.
After installation create a directory for Boinc to use it, this will be the Data directory, and create a file named cc_config.xml inside of it. At this page you’ll find the various possible settings for the client.
Next you want to join a project, head over to Boinc Projects page and select one that sounds interesting to you, since we don’t have a gui we’ll have to create an account first, from there the project will instruct us on how to create a file in the Data directory and after that we’ll be able to launch
I’ve launched mine like this:
boinc_client --daemon --dir /home/danix/.boinc/ --no_gpus
Where .boinc inside my home directory is the Data directory, I’ve also instructed boinc to run as a daemon and not to use gpus (since I don’t have one on the server).
If you want to control the behaviour of the daemon once is running you can open a terminal and use tail to read the log files that it creates inside the Data directory. You’ll find a stdoutdae.txt for standard output and a stderrdae.txt for error output. I’m keeping an eye on the stdoutdae.txt file like this:
tail -f /home/danix/.boinc/stdoutdae.txt
this way you’ll be informed about whatever happens with your daemon.
I hope you’ll find this information useful, as usual if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.