Friday 06 December 2013
Let your computer work for science
using BOINC and distributed computing!
Most of the time your computer is idle or running far below its maximum. You can donate this unused processing power to scientific projects using distributed computing.
Basically, you give some of your computer's power to compute a small piece of a big project. Joining millions of small computers provides the power of a (very) big one.
There are many projects including medical research (modeling the proteins structure, fight against malaria, genome study, AIDS, cancer research, molecular chemistry), climate (planetary scale modeling, evolution forecasts), various scientific projects (astronomy, magnetism, fluids dynamics), mathematics...
The projects programs are handled by a dedicated software called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).
To participate you must download and install the BOINC software.
Once Boinc is installed, you must join one or more scientific projects and your computer will communicate with the project server to get work units (WU).
After completion of the work unit, the Boinc client sends the result to the project server and dowloads a new unit.
On the other hand, there is a more ludic part : for each completed unit you receive an amount of points (credits).
The goal is thus to accumulate the credits and to get a better place in the national or international rankings.
Everybody knows that "the union makes the force" so the participants usually join their efforts in teams, mainly the national ones.
You can then achieve better visibility in the ranking; so Belgium is #19 in the World ranking.