Boinc and the World Community Grid

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Over the last few days, I’ve been looking at ways to use my spare CPU power, thinking that the electricity used to run my computers can be used more efficienly. They’re running a lot of the time, but not using 100% of their resources.

I discovered BOINC and through that, the World Community Grid. BOINC stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing and is a system where home and business computers can help process very difficult problems by each contributing  a tiny bit to the solution. Through this system, we can download data and analyse it, then return it to the administrators. It’s, literally, many computers doing a little bit of work to achieve goals that may take years of computing under normal circumstances.

There are many projects to join. They range from hardcore math with Amicable Numbers, discovering pulsars and gravity waves with Einstein@home searching for aliens with SETI@home, or, as I am, researching the Zika virus with World Community Grid. There’s many  more options, from climate change to cancer research.

All I had to do was install some free software on my  laptop and phone (I’m running it on several devices), link it to the project I wanted and away I went. My device now downloads data, processes it, then returns it to the host all by itself.

The system can utilize the wasted resources of thousands of computers. It is a win – win situation – doing science from home, even if you dont know anything about it!

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