Just WHAT does your computer do in it’s spare time ??…
…..You know, when you’ve finished some work and you’re taking a break from the screen for half an hour (if you are lucky !) … most probably your screen saver kicks in and you get a toaster flying round the screen, or a favourite photo of your pet goldfish swims aimlessly around bumping into the edges of the screen… or something like that. WELL NOT ON MY WATCH !!! …. My desk top machine has been switched on 24/7 for about the last 4 years, quietly chugging away at various DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING projects. What, you might ask, is DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING ?? Well to find out you can either follow this link …(Good old Wikipedia )… or just read on and I will do my best to describe what it is…Bear in mind I am a top notch TECHNOPHOBE !!
You have a problem that will take your huge multi £/$million computer several years or even decades to solve and we can’t wait that long can we ? So you get several million people, world wide, to compute for you. The data gets parceled up into small bite sized packages and, by the wonder of the world wide web, each person who wants to help downloads a very small piece of software which enables his/her computer to interact with the big multi million £$ computer that’s trying to work out the solution to your problem…are you still with me ?? ( I sure hope so !!) All the computers signed up to help solve the problem then contact the BIG computer and get sent the packages of bite sized data … when the small packages have been analysed by YOUR computer, the results are then sent back to the BIG computer and pieced together…eventually, in a very short time all the data has been analysed and a solution to the problem is arrived at. (PHEW !) … SO, now you know what DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING is ( I hope)
The two main projects I have been involved with over the years,off and on, depending on availability of computers and internet connection speeds are, the first one I tried, SETI@home … follow the link to get all the gen on the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence
HOW does this work ? … well the giant radio telescope at the arecibo observatory (Good old Wikipedia again ) has been sweeping the heavens for years and gathering so much data the under the auspices of Berkeley University in California where the ‘farming out’ of the gathered data is conducted in a DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING style (you still remember what that is right ???) and the results analysed by ‘Joe Public’ are sent to and looked at by the ‘SETI TEAM’….not found ET yet !
Rosetta@home … again with a link, is the next project I tried..I now run both side by side.
Rosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don’t need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn’t possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s (See our Disease Related Research for more information). Please join us in our efforts! Rosetta@home is not for profit.
This is to my mind a very worthwhile project to get involved with as, by researching protein shapes, we will ultimately find a cure for some of mankind’s most feared diseases. Please click on the ‘join us’ link above and give this your consideration….
The main reason I have (probably) bored you silly with this, is that it appears a major breakthrough is on the horizon (they are my words as a NON doctor type, not the research team’s words ) follow this link to read about the breakthrough of the research team with results provided by all the DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING fans crunching the numbers for Rosetta@home. A potential Influenza killer as well as Great strides in Cancer drugs … all greatly assisted by the Rosetta@home applications …. now that can’t be a waste of your computer’s time CAN IT ??? The client software is PERFECTLY SAFE, so you can download it to your computer, secure in the knowledge it IS safe.
IT MAY WELL BE YOUR COMPUTER THAT UNCOVERS THE CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, AIDS, MALARIA and who know what else….PLEASE …. give it a try.
If you have read all this, you are a person with strength and I thank you. If you have one, may your God go with you….if not, may the rest of your days be in peace with the ones you love.