Chris's Rants

Monday, August 01, 2005

Your computer is bored...

...give it something useful to do when you're not around.

I recently heard about the World Community Grid:
World Community Grid's mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity. Our work is built on the belief that technological innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can change our world for the better. Our success depends on individuals - like you - collectively contributing their unused computer time to this not-for-profit endeavor.
So, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Unlike the Seti@Home project, that analyzes radio telescope data to find evidence of LGM, the World Community Grid is focused on solving scientific problems that benefit humanity. The current project is the Human Proteome Folding Project:
The Human Proteome Folding project will provide scientists with data that predicts the shape of a very large number of human proteins. These predictions will give scientists the clues they need to identify the biological functions of individual proteins within the human body. With an understanding of how each protein affects human health, scientists can develop new cures for human diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and malaria.
Prior to that, the WCG was applied to the Smallpox Research Grid Project, a project to screen 35 million potential drug molecules against several smallpox proteins that eventually identified 44 strong treatment candidates.

My experience, thus far, with the WCG has been fairly positive. I installed it on our home system, since that is now severely underutilized now that my daughter has a laptop. The software (windoze only for the time being I'm afraid) was easy to install, and there is little perceived impact on a system while it's not idle.

At the time of this entry, there are over 125,000 devices hooked into the grid with an aggregate runtime of over 13,500 years.

I'd encourage you to give the WCG some thoughtful consideration.


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