PlanetQuest & Distributed Computing

PlanetQuest relies on the combined computing power of millions of computers in order to process astronomical data. In using this innovative approach, commonly called "distributed computing," we rely on a secure, robust series of servers at our central core to handle requests, store data, and track processing results. The actual data processing, however, takes place on participants' computers all over the world, using the Collaboratory. Together, these machines form a massive virtual supercomputer, allowing PlanetQuesters to use our Collaboratory to analyze astronomical data and make new discoveries.

You may be familiar with other distributed computing projects, such as SETI@home. While PlanetQuest shares much in common with SETI@home and similar distributed computing projects, PlanetQuest is also quite different!


PlanetQuest implements the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) as our basic distributed computing platform. BOINC is open source, robust, secure, fault-tolerant, and well-designed. We actively contribute to the BOINC project. For those interested in additional information, see the main BOINC pages.