Thursday, September 21

Bored during the day...

I realized the other day that my beastly new computer at home wasn't doing anything all day other than running system idle processes or maybe the occational virus scan. "Self?" I said to myself, "What can I have this conglomeration of tightly packed silicone and metal do during the day, not just to benefit me, but also the benefit the society around me. That same society which made it possible to assemble these parts together so I can enjoy things like Lord of the Rings online in true magnificent 1600x1200 resolution with 4x anti aliasing?" Then it hit me: (which hurt by the way) Distributed computing. The idea is "quite simple": There are large, nay HUGE, no no, VAST amounts of information out there that some people (scientists) have just sitting around their labs. They would like to do something with this information, but sadly they cannot. They can't because the data hasn't been processed yet and to process that data would take a single computer a (captial V) Very long time. They either have to wait in line to use a really expensive super computer, or they can put their data into a distributed computing network. This way lots of computers all over the world can work on the scientist's data while my computer isn't working. IE: The scientist gets to use my computer when I'm not using it.

Now that I had decided to pursue this idea I had to figure out which distributed computer network I wanted to join. Seti@Home was the original distributed computer network. They scan the Seti data for signs of intelligent life. (in space) Nice idea but, not as helpful to humanity as I would like. Then I stumbled upon Grid.org who is working on various cancer related programs. Bingo, just what I was looking for. I surfed over to their website and downloaded the little client. It's small enough to fit on a floppy disk (remember those?) and can be run as a screen-saver. Thus, when I am on the machine nothing happens, when I am away the computer gets to work.

I am thinking that should Taproot get the money for new computers ($8,350 for 25 new computers, copies of windows xp pro and office 2003 pro... any takers!? Please?)and I am working on getting them all working just fine and dandy that I will install this on there so that when the TTC computers aren't working for us, they'll be working for the good of humanity. It's be pretty cool if some big companies got behind this, I'm sure a company that had thousands of PCs would really help this program out. Considering around here I know how much the computer's get used during the day, but at night they don't, and that is a whole half a day those computers COULD be being used to do something good and worthwhile.

I would encourage you to look into adding this to your computer(s) even if they aren't that powerful. (like mine) Because honestly every little bit helps.

~B.

1 comment:

  1. I know of at least one grandma who will have tears in her eyes as she reads this! You are right--it's so easy to get caught up in life, especially when you have children. One thing I love about Lisa is how much value she puts on people and her relationship to them. Learn well from her!!

    I'm going down to visit Grandma the week after next. Just to hang...

    Have a glorious Saturday!

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