The next time you step away from your desk for a quick coffee or just pause to answer the phone, why not let your computer get to work… completing calculations for drug development, environmental or global nutrition projects. Just volunteer your PC or laptop’s unused time to World Community Grid, created by Start partner, IBM.
How does it work? Even with applications running, most PCs are idle about 80 per cent of the time. World Community Grid computing joins together thousands of individual computers, establishing a large system with massive computational power equal to a supercomputer. Because the work is split into countless tiny pieces and done simultaneously, this makes it possible to carry out computationally intensive scientific research and collapses the time required to get results from decades to months.
Through World Community Grid, more than 1.3 million computers belonging to more than 460,000 people in over 200 countries have already been harnessed by IBM and together they provide capacity equivalent to a world top 10 supercomputer. It has delivered to scientists 250,000 years of computer run-time at no cost, and over 290 million research results since launch in November 2004.
If you want to find out more, go to worldcommunitygrid.org and download a free, small software agent to your PC. This agent will then request an assignment from World Community Grid’s servers, located at IBM. These servers send out the “job” assignment (in the form of a data packet) to three separate PCs as a security measure.
When and only when idle, your computer performs the calculations and sends the results back to the servers. The servers wait for the other two sets of identical data to be returned. The results are compared to ensure that they are identical and no hacking has occurred. The servers then send out a new work unit to your PC. You’ll know when your computer is being used for research because a screen saver appears, charting the progress on your current task.
Contributing to the Millennium Development Goals
In total 14 projects are currently running or have completed their computational phase, involving teams of scientists from 35 research centres in 6 countries. And while all of the World Community Grid’s (WCG) projects can claim some impact on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), 9 projects have a direct impact on five of the eight goals relating to the three big topics of Nutrition, Disease and Environment.
To find out more about IBM’s award-winning project, visit World Community Grid.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 3:56 pm and is filed under Start partners, things we like. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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