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2010-09-23 14:06:30

Want to help search for aliens and fight diseases right from your home computer?

A cornucopia of "volunteer computing" projects let you do that and more by donating some of the spare computational power on your desktop or laptop.

With these projects, rather than a giant, booked-up supercomputer crunching on a massive data set, thousands of regular ol' computers tackle a scientific problem that is broken up into piecemeal "jobs."

"Volunteer computing doesn’t get a single job done any faster [than a supercomputer], but it gets a whole lot of jobs done faster in a given time," said David Anderson, a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "These projects encourage people to think more and learn more about science."

Anderson founded and leads a program called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) that powers most science-related volunteer computing projects, many of which carry an "@home" suffix.

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Index :: BOINC :: 8 Cool Science Projects That Can Run Right on Your Home Computer