Distributed computing for research projects by using surplus IT-resources



sGrid (=social Grid) is a project at the Institute for Program Structures and Data Organization (IPD) Prof. Dr. Walter F. Tichy at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and offers the possibility of distributed computing for research projects by using already available, surplus IT-resources.

The sGrid-Software was developed in fall semester 2012/13 in the scope of the „Software Engineering Practice” course by KIT’s computer science students Emanuel Jöbstl, Jérôme Urhausen, Elisaweta Masserova and Ainara Askar. The team has been coached by Alexander Wachtel.


sGrid builds on the Open-Source Software BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing,, which provides an open method for distributed computing. sGrid is a software system, composed of a client and a server application including a website, which builds a bridge between science projects and voluntary users and provides a complete solution for the participation at distributed computing projects.

sGrid expands the functionality of BOINC through:

  • An easy One-Click-Installation of the software and user-friendly Interface
  • A reward system in order to encourage volunteers to participate at the project
  • The possibility of social interaction
A typical use case of sGrid is described in the following section. A user can register with his e-mail address or through OAuth- or OpenId-Providers, such as Facebook. After this, the server application registers the user automatically with the corresponding Grid Partner, which enables sGrid to request statistics and performance reports of the user from this Grid Partner through web-based XML-interfaces. When the user downloads and installs the client application, the client application receives settings and user information from the server application through a WCF interface. With this information, work units can be requested from the Grid Partner. As soon as having finished the calculation on a work unit, the result will be submitted back to the Grid Partner, while the server application will be informed of this event. The client application can now continue work on a new unit. If the validation of the submitted result succeeded, the volunteered time will be immediately credited to the user, which can exchange the grant for various rewards.

BOINC currently has 2.5 M Users, who donate their computing capacity to diverse charitable projects. The target of sGrid is to reasonably increase this count.


  • Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC), Simulations Laboratory for Elementary- and Astro-Particle Physics, Mr. Dr. Gevorg Poghosyan, Adapting cosmic ray induced air shower simulations onto volunteer computing infrastructure,
  • Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), Institut for Nanotechnology (INT), @MEOPHOME, Mr. Dr. Timo Strunk, Protein Optimization with Energy Methods,
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