ComBos: a complete simulator of volunteer computing and desktop grids

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Volunteer Computing is a type of distributed computing in which ordinary people donate their idle computer time to science projects like SETI@Home, and many others. In a similar way, Desktop Grid Computing is a form of distributed computing in which an organization uses its existing computers to handle its own long-running computational tasks. BOINC is the main middleware that provides a software platform for Volunteer Computing and desktop grid computing, and it became generalized as a platform for distributed applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, environmental science, and astrophysics. In this paper we present a complete simulator of BOINC infrastructures, called ComBoS. Although there are other BOINC simulators, none of them allow us to simulate the complete infrastructure of BOINC. Our goal was to create a complete simulator that, unlike the existing ones, could simulate realistic scenarios taking into account the whole BOINC infrastructure, that other simulators do not consider: projects, servers, network, redundant computing, scheduling, and volunteer nodes. The outputs of the simulations allow us to analyze a wide range of statistical results, such as the throughput of each project, the number of jobs executed by the clients, the total credit granted and the average occupation of the BOINC servers. The paper describes the design of ComBoS and the results of the validation performed. This validation compares the results obtained in ComBoS with the real ones of three different BOINC projects (Einstein@Home, SETI@Home and LHC@Home). Besides, we analyze the performance of the simulator in terms of memory usage and execution time. The paper also shows that our simulator can guide the design of BOINC projects, describing some case studies using ComBoS that could help designers verify the feasibility of BOINC projects. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
volunteer computing, boinc, simulation, throughput, desktop grids
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Alonso-Monsalve, S., García Carballeira, F., Calderón, A. (2017). ComBos: a complete simulator of volunteer computing and desktop grids. Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory, 77, pp. 197-211.