VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization hypervisor for enterprise as well as home use. A hypervisor allows your computer to host one or more Virtual Machines, running different operating systems than your own computer runs. This is essential for all our projects (except for Sixtrack).
Virtualization, in computing, is the creation of a virtual computer that can run an operating system, applications, etc. within your real hardware. You can obtain more information about this topic in the Wikipedia.
CernVM is a Virtual Software Appliance for the participants of CERN LHC experiments. The Appliance represents an extensible, portable and easy to configure user environment for developing and running LHC physics software both locally, on Grids and on Clouds, independently of Operating System software and hardware platforms (GNU/Linux, Windows, MacOSX).
The goal is to remove a need for the installation of the experiment software on each target platform, and thus to minimize the number of platforms (compiler-OS combinations) on which experiment software needs to be supported and tested. Visit the CernVM homepage for further details.
All our projects (except for Sixtrack) run very large CERN software packages with complex dependencies that cannot be easily ported to all the volunteers' operating systems (Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X).
For this reason, we use a virtualization solution, which enables us to run complex codes independently of your platform.
Additionally, using virtualization adds an extra layer of security, as if something goes wrong in the code execution this will not affect your computer.
VBoxWrapper does not support more than 1 core currently. We recommend you run multiple BOINC tasks, each with a single VM, to use multiple cores on your system.