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2010-01-28 19:13:46



Ever wanted to know what this grid computing thing is about? What you can do with it? Then watch my grid computing introduction.



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2010-01-29 12:20:15


How To: BOINC: Use your computer to help humanity


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2010-02-04 12:57:57


Changing Our World Now


Grid computing is not a futuristic technology. World Community Grid is at work right now applying this technology to exciting research projects that can benefit us all.

Our first project, Human Proteome Folding, is identifying the proteins produced by human genes. With this information, scientists can understand how defects in proteins can cause disease, making it easier to find cures.

In 2003, with grid computing, in less than three months scientists identified 44 potential treatments to fight the deadly smallpox disease. Without the grid, the work would have taken more than one year to complete.



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2010-03-12 17:52:25



With volunteer computing, large-scale computational problems are broken up into millions of small data packets and sent to individual participating computers. Home and business PCs, working while they sit idle, process and calculate these data packets and send the results back to a central system. There, the information is double-checked for accuracy and recombined to form a complex solution. This process differs from high performance computing, which processes data using a unified, massively parallel system.

With the number of PCs in the world approaching one billion, the World Community Grid has untold potential, leading many researchers to believe the next big breakthrough might be achieved with the help of your home or work computer.

“It’s doing something philanthropic without paying any money. How often can you do that?” Berstis said. “Everybody else asks for money, or time. Here’s something you can do to contribute to humanity and it’s effortless.”


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2010-06-04 14:59:46



The growth of the web has given rise to more distributed ways to harness computer power - usually of the humble desktop type.

These projects typically take advantage of the fact that the processor inside most desktops spends most of its time idle. Rather than just let it sit doing nothing, it is getting increasingly easy to get it doing real scientific work.

One of the first to use that idle computer time was the Seti@Home project, which harnessed processors to look through reams of radio signals seeking signs of alien life.

Now, many more projects are keen to tap that processing power.

"Some scientists have single jobs that they need to have done very fast like simulating an explosion or something like that," said Dr David Anderson, director and developer of the Boinc distributed computing project.

"Other scientists have many, many jobs and want to complete the whole group of them relatively fast," he said.

This is where Boinc's volunteer computing project comes in. Those that download the Boinc software can offer their PC to help with one of many different scientific projects.

"Volunteer computing is by and large doing the same sort of computation that people do in supercomputer centres or other conventional hardware," said Dr Anderson.

Get enough PCs together and you can amass a significant amount of computer power, he said.

"There is in the order of 350,000 people running Boinc on their computer," he said. "We hope and expect that number will increase."

"Currently the largest supercomputers are 1-2 petaflops machines," he said. "We have 3 or 4 times as much power on tap."

The separate Folding@Home project, which is studying the ways that proteins fold inside cells, can call on about eight petaflops of computer power. Other distributed computing projects are using games consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox as sources of compute power.

"The volunteer computing approach works for a surprisingly large fraction of all scientific tasks, about 95%," said Dr Anderson. "Those that it does not work well for are ones that require individual jobs to be done as fast as possible or require large amounts of memory."


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2010-06-23 12:43:18


How your PC can help science, one processor cycle at a time


"BOINC is trying to create a system in which thousands of scientists compete for computing resources by publicising their research. Computer owners can then make careful, informed decisions about how to target their donation of resources," Dr Anderson told us.

There are over 35 separate research projects currently signed up to utilise BOINC in their computations. Dr Anderson has some pretty specific and ambitious goals for the project:

"The goals are [that] huge amounts of computing power – potentially all the computers in the world – are made available to scientific research. Scientists who are doing better research get more computing power, where better is defined by the public. The public gets interested in and excited about current scientific research, and learns about scientific method and the importance of scepticism and logic."

The concept of the public deciding what research is more important and which deserves more focus is an interesting one, and to an extent is already happening in the BOINC community.


Read more: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/how-your-pc-can-help-science-695518#ixzz0rgCaqdbl

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2010-06-23 12:54:50



What is Distributed Computing?


Scientific distributed computing is a way to solve very complex problems by splitting them in smaller parts. These manageable bits are sent out to many computers. Since there are hundreds of millions of very fast computers with internet access, and that most of the time the processor in these computers is idling, it's possible to use those idle resources to do something useful.

Let's say you are a biologist and you'd like to run some protein design calculations to find a protein that would bind to the HIV virus so it can be used in a vaccine. Even with a super-computer, it might take years for that math-intensive project to complete. But if you have a network of many thousands of computers connected via the internet, you can send a few pieces of the puzzle to solve each of computer. They'll all work on it in parallel and then send you back the results, which can then be pieced back together and analysed (this doesn't work with all kinds of calculations, but when it does work, you can get a massive speed-up).

Once you have a distributed computing project running on your computer, the application will run in the background and only use your CPU when you aren't using it. It should be mostly transparent to the user. The only downside is that it will make your computer use more electricity, but using the equivalent of a lightbulb of electricity to help fight horrible diseases is worth it, in my opinion. There are many other places where we can conserve electricity before we stop computers from doing scientific calculations….

That sounds interesting to you? Here are a few research projects that you can join so that your computer can help cure diseases and move science forward. The scientific projects below are all run as non-profits (mostly universities), and anything that they find will be released publicly for the benefit of all.


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2010-11-27 17:26:07




Flash animation created to help explain IBM's grid computing to potential clients.


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2011-06-28 17:43:51

As big as WCG is, it represents about 1% of the world's estimated computer population. Often, says Willner, people have to get over any misplaced fear about what the download does. "It's 'dumb' software," she says. "It can't follow you or read your hard drive." All it can do is perform a few specific tasks: determine if the machine is free, run the algorithms it has been assigned, and transfer the results to WCG servers in Toronto. The fact that there have been no security breaches or viruses instills trust.


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