Some time ago, on another blog, I enthusiastically pumped a little program called BOINC. No, it’s not some hot new program for downloading porn. BOINC stands for Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. BOINC cleverly uses your computers downtime (you know, all that time you aren’t on facebook, when you have some cool away message up for your boyfriend) to run small programs that perform various scientific tasks. You see, some research programs, such as SETI, gather so much data that there is literally too much to analyze in a lifetime.
After installing BOINC, you can configure it to take data from the a list of programs and have your compute the mass amounts of data out there. When the analysis is complete, your computer sends the data back to the source and downloads the next bunch for analysis. Nifty, huh?
Aside from SETI, BOINC works worth several scientific programs. For example:
BBC Climate Change Experiment – Study of transient climate change model predictions.
Seasonal Attribution Project – High resolution variant of CPDN, taking a more in depth look at certain regional areas.
Einstein@Home – Search for gravitational waves to reveal the presence of neutron stars (pulsars).
LHC@Home – Model and improve the design of the LHC particle accelerator (My personal favorite).
Rosetta@Home – Predict and design protein structures, and protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions using the Rosetta program.
SETI@Home – Look for radio evidence of extraterrestrial life (as mentioned above).
SIMAP@Home – Study of protein similarities.
SZTAKI Desktop Grid – Hungarian project. Details hard to come by for the non-Hungarian reader. This project is exploring a mathematical domain looking for solutions to a particular problem space.
I invite everyone to check it out and pt your computers downtime in the hands of science. What have you got to loose?