ATLAS@Home is a research project that uses volunteer computing to run simulations of the ATLAS experiment at CERN. You can participate by downloading and running a free program on your computer.

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment taking place at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, that searches for new particles and processes using head-on collisions of protons of extraordinary high energy. Petabytes of data were recorded, processed and analyzed during the first three years of data taking, leading to up to 300 publications covering all the aspects of the Standard Model of particle physics, including the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.

Large scale simulation campaigns are a key ingredient for physicists, who permanently compare their data with both "known" physics and "new" phenomena predicted by alternative models of the universe, particles and interactions. This simulation runs on the WLCG Computing Grid and at any one point there are around 150,000 tasks running. You can help us run even more simulation by using your computer's idle time to run these same tasks.

On this page you can see ATLAS monitoring of the tasks running on ATLAS@Home, as well as how ATLAS@Home ("BOINC") compares to the other sites on the WLCG.

The program you will download runs simulation software inside a virtual machine hosted by your computer. The virtual machine image is ~500MB but is only downloaded once. Each workunit downloads a small set of input data and runs for approx 1 to 2 hours depending on the computer's processor speed.

THE ATLAS@Home PROJECT IS STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT, and it cannot be guaranteed that jobs will be free from errors or that there will always be work available. Please consult or post to the message boards in case of problems.

The Physics of ATLAS@Home

No knowledge of particle physics is required, but for those interested in the physics processes simulated in ATLAS@Home as well as the ATLAS experiment itself visit our public page.

Join ATLAS@Home

  • Read our rules and policies
  • This project uses BOINC. If you're already running BOINC, select Add Project. If not, download BOINC.
  • This project also requires VirtualBox to be installed.
    • Windows: VirtualBox is included in Windows distributions of Boinc and so does not have to be installed separately.
    • Mac and Linux: VirtualBox must be installed separately
  • In case of problems using the latest version of VirtualBox try using version 4.2.16.
  • After choosing Add Project in Boinc Manager, choose ATLAS@home from the list of projects
  • Then either enter details for to set up a new account, or if you have previously registered enter the existing account details.
    • A reasonably powerful modern 64-bit computer with at least 4GB of memory is required to run ATLAS@Home. Enabling 64-bit virtualisation may require some changes in BIOS settings.
    • In Boinc Manger set the % of processors used to be at most 50%, otherwise your computer may run out of memory.
    • The work units may use a lot of network bandwidth, so a slow internet connection may reduce work unit efficiency
    • The work units contact servers at CERN and outside CERN. If you are behind a firewall you will need to open access to these servers. Please contact us for details.
  • If you're running a command-line version of BOINC, create an account first.
  • If you have any problems, get help here.

User of the day

User profile Profile Ex_Brit
British born now living in Canada. Retired from Air Canada in 2001


Updates on ATLAS@home project
Dear volunteers,

First of all we would like to warmly thank all the volunteers how have contributed to the ATLAS@home project; below a few news and prospects for the next weeks.

o The BOINC server is experiencing load issues since several days which are being addressed by CERN IT. It is hoped that a the situation will be back to normal in the next days.

o BOINC results have passed ATLAS validation. It took longer than expected for various reasons : a dedicated sophisticated procedure has been developed to ensure that statistically BOINC simulation does not introduce any bias, in the course of the validation procedure several issues were found in the validation tools themselves. Now we are happy to announce that BOINC is fully validated for ATLAS simulation.

o As you may know, the LHC is about to deliver collisions at an increased energy. We have stopped submitting WUs, waiting for the queue of tasks to drain. In the next days, a new version of the ATLAS simulation will be used and a campaign of simulation corresponding to the new accelerator conditions will be launched. We shall keep you informed!

o Taking advantage of the new simulation campaign, a updated version of the vboxwrapper will be introduced as well.

Again thank you to all of you for your contribution to the ATLAS simulation effort.

26 May 2015, 19:48:57 UTC · Comment

Upload server
Dear All,

In the past few days there were some load issues with the upload server and therefore it took some time for tasks to upload the results.

We handled this and it's working fine now.

22 May 2015, 12:10:19 UTC · Comment

New bunch of Wus available in the next days
Dear all,

we are currently running out of WUs, a new bunch will be made available in the next days.

Thank you again for participating to ATLAS@home.

28 Apr 2015, 12:29:11 UTC · Comment

Beam is back in the LHC
Dear all,

a major milestone has been achieved today. One beam has circulated around the LHC after 2 years of maintenance for upgrade. Follow us on :

Thank you to all the volunteers contributing to ATLAS simulation!

5 Apr 2015, 15:33:59 UTC · Comment

Server maintenance today
Dear volunteers,

we are migrating part of server infrastructure today, which will take few hours. In the meantime there might be a lack of workunits to send and the boinc server will be unavailable for an hour or so. We will let you know when the maintenance is over.
1 Apr 2015, 6:48:07 UTC · Comment

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