Friday, September 21, 2007

Join the network, save the world........

Just thought I would inform you all of a very worthwhile little tool that will allow you to be part of the further advancement of human knowledge not to mention helping to find cures for some of the worst diseases in the world.

I am sure some of you remember SETI@home, it was a screen saver program from back in the day (1990's) which when you weren't using your computer would download packets of data from SETI and processes them looking for little green men. Using this the SETI guys could process rafts of data compared with just using their own machines.

This idea has been taken to the next level by the World Community Grid, it hosts research projects for everything from climate change studies to fighting AIDS. Basically you download a client program (BOINC seems to be the best but there are loads to choose from), you then tell the client the URL of the project you want to process data for and away you go. Each project has its own graphics to use as a screensaver.

If you go to the WCG website and sign up it will guide you through the setup procedure, during this it will ask you to join a team, this is optional but if you want to join my team "Number Crunching to Save The World" then we can work to together to save the world and gets some good stats on the WCG!

Alternatively you can go straight to BOINC and download the program and then add projects yourself from their project page, which has a bigger choice than WCG (which only hosts the big ones like AIDS research). You can also add projects from this page after signing up for WCG.

The great thing about this is you can customize how you want to help. If you care more about Climate change than searching for pulsars then sign up for that project, or if AIDS research is more your thing then go for that and so on. You can run as many projects as you want at once, it is a good idea to have more than one as there may not always be data available for you to process from each project, however the more you have the longer it will take to process each data packet so it a balancing act.

I hope the above all makes sense (if it doesn't just email me) and we can get as many people as possible crunching numbers for the good of mankind!
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