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iThena is a volunteer distributed computing[1] project running on the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).


The main goal of the iThena project is to model the infrastructure of networks of the global Internet as real as possible. This modelling can be done on many levels: routers, PoPs (point of presence) and AS (autonomous systems). The model may have characteristics such as latency, bandwidth, packet loss and others.

The first initiated test activity of the iThena project took place on August 29, 2019. First official message about the project was sent September 26, 2019[2].

Origin of the project name

The name of the project to the word cluster: iThena = Internet + Athena. The word Internet defines the global network infrastructure and the information it contains. The word Athena has a standard genesis that refers to Greek mythology and defines the crowds of knowledge, wisdom and prudence.

Architect / System administrator

The main architect and system administrator is Lukasz Swierczewski, who was previously the administrator of many other large scale systems (e.g. OProject@Home[3]). He graduated from Lomza State University of Applied Sciences in Łomża (Engineer's degree[4]), Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (Master's degree[5]) and National Defence University of Warsaw (Postgraduate education). Computer scientist[6] and programmer supporting open-source software initiatives. Previously mainly programmer in the area of high performance computing systems (HPC) and supercomputers. A member of the Polish Mathematical Society.

Predecessors and similar projects

Historically, the predecessor of iThena is DIMES. DIMES analysed the topology of the Internet. CAIDA (Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis) and RIPE Atlas also has a great contribution to the mapping of the network structure.

Nature of the project

The project has an experimental and research character. iThena in its area is largely consistent with MASINT (Measurement and Signature Intelligence) - intelligence, which is the analysis of data and information obtained through distributed measurement systems in order to determine all characteristics and other information about the recognized object. However, in this case, the project activity space is cyberspace.

Simplified iThena Project visualization available at the address:

The BOINC clients applications that are launched mapping the network structure of the Internet. The iThena applications[7] in the initial phase of the project are only in NCI (CPU Non-Intensive) mode. They do not make much use of computing resources (CPU time, RAM memory). However, the computer network traffic can be used to a much greater extent. iThena NCI applications map and/or check the availability of individual network nodes using generally known and legal technologies (e.g. ping, traceroute, Iperf, OWAMP[8][9]). The data obtained under the iThena project comes from open sources to a key extent. The whole open society of Internet users (including BOINC users) contributes to the implementation and development of the system. The data aggregated within the project will be partially classified as open and made available under an open licenses.

On the basis of data aggregated in the system it is possible to detect network anomalies. This area contains anomalies concerning manipulation of data transmission routes[10] - IP Hijack Attacks and other issues.

It is planned to use distributed nodes for typical computing tasks. By 24 April 2020, iThena has made about 250 billion distributed measurements. Project statistics are available, among others, in Free-DC[11] and BOINCStats[12] services.


  1. Template:Cite arXiv
  2. September 26, 2019: Planned changes in virtualization - First News (September 26, 2019). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  3. BOINCStats: Detailed stats OProject@Home. Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  4. Engineering Thesis [in Polish: Symulacja funkcjonalnego systemu kwantowego na równoległych komputerach klasycznych IV generacji] (2013). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  5. Master Thesis [in Polish: Testowanie przypuszczenia Beal'a z wykorzystaniem superkomputerów oraz platformy do obliczeń rozproszonych BOINC] (2015). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  6. ORCID iD Page. Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  7. iThena official applications. iThena, Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  8. RFC4656: A One-way Active Measurement Protocol (OWAMP). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  9. One-Way Ping (OWAMP). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  10. China’s Maxim – Leave No Access Point Unexploited: The Hidden Story of China Telecom’s BGP Hijacking (October 21, 2018). Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  11. Free-DC: iThena Project Stats. Retrieved on June 21, 2020.
  12. BOINCStats: Detailed stats iThena. Retrieved on June 21, 2020.

External links