Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Volunteer Your PC

How many of you are like me – you have your desktop computer running 24/7?  Well if you are running that box all the time then I would like to encourage you to make use of the “down time”.  Donate that unused computer capacity to a good cause. For several years now I have participated in the distributed computing effort.  I started with the SETI project and, right now I’m involved with the Human Proteome Folding Project.

It’s really very simple. You download the program and it runs as a screen saver.  It doesn’t slow down your computer while you are using it.  It just runs when you aren’t using it.  The idea is to combine the strength of a large number of small computers to do what one big computer couldn’t do.  

  • Examining the entire human genome for instance could require up to 1,000,000 years of computational time on an up-to-date PC.

  • Using a commercial 1000 node cluster would require 50 years and, while faster, would still be impractical.
There are several projects to choose from.  Find the one that appeals to you.  I’m a zoologist by training so deciphering the human genome twangs my twanger but if you want to search for ET go for it.  There are also projects searching for cures for Anthrax and Small Pox or you can get involved in cancer research.

If this interests you at all I have a link to Grid.org on this page.  Check it out and VOLUNTEER YOUR PC.





     
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