*This post references updates to the simulator client that will go live in early May 2020.
The Global Network (which we sometimes call “glonet” because abbreviations are cool) is a distributed computing network that we created to let users donate their idle CPU time to the all-important cause of finding better and better sets of gear in WoW.
Running tons of simulations is very CPU-intensive, and thus very expensive. The global network lets us keep costs low and update the website more quickly. We can’t say enough how much we appreciate all of the CPU time that has been donated to us by users over the years. We hope that it has been a win-win arrangement for everyone involved.
How does glonet work?
The idea is very similar to things like SETI@home. You run a small program on your computer when you are not using it, and we will send simulations to be run on your computer from time to time. We then gather up all the results of simulations run on all the computers connected to glonet and process the results into advanced statistical models that can rank gear extremely quickly with very high accuracy.
The reason that you don’t have to wait around for minutes or even hours to get gear rankings on our website is that the work has already been done on the global network beforehand!
How can I contribute?
Go to the simulator client web page and follow the instructions. In the configure step, check Enable Global Network.
Whenever you run your simulator client, it will now also check for work on the global network. You can use the simulator client web page to monitor roughly how many simulations your client(s) have done for the global network.
I enabled the global network, but “Total Glonet Sims Run” doesn’t seem to be increasing on the client page.
We don’t continuously run work on the global network – we tend to do a lot more around major WoW patches. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enable the global network! It is very helpful to us to have a bunch of people on “standby” if we ever need to churn out a bunch of data on short notice.
If I want to run my own simulations but a global network simulation is running, what happens?
If you submit your own personal simulation while a global network simulation is running on your machine, it will immediately cancel the global network simulation and start your own simulation.
How much of a strain on my computer is the global network?
When a simulation is running, it is very CPU intensive. The configure step on the simulator client page has information and guidance on controlling that.
The global network requires very little network bandwidth whether active or idle – you will not notice an impact on your network even if you run it while gaming, streaming, etc.