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nashvillwill

help save the world!

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Well, here is something a little different. Some of you might know about this, some might not. There are things called "public computing grid's". The idea is that projects which help improve society through research need help. The help they need is processing power. These projects do research on things like Cancer solutions, human protein research, the fight against AIDS, and The Clean Energy Project. You can also assist mainframes like SETI(search for extraterrestrial intelligence) or the LHC (large hadron collier).

The idea is brilliant. They need astronomical amounts of processing power. They only have limited resources. So, they send your computer a small packet of problems, your computer solves the problems and returns the results. Essentially, it makes one very large, worldwide super-computer.

I recently joined the the W.C.G., or World Community Grid. This is one (of many) software available. WCG is an IBM power program. You can choose your research project, processor availability, and even daily time periods of work. There is no reward besides the self-satisfaction of knowing that your computer is helping science instead of just sitting idle.

The only drawback is energy use. The CPU must be available, so your computer cannot sleep or hibernate while this is going on(although you can dedicate a few hours a day, if desired). A personal loss, but a larger victory when you consider two things. You simply distribute energy consumption overall buy saving more processing time by these projects computers. More importantly you help solve problems like how to make solar panels more efficient.

For the record, i am not a computer geek. Quite honestly, i am quite the opposite. So i cannot tell you about the pro's v. con's of this. Just something i wanted to share.

I encourage everyone to at least look into this subject, do some research, and decide if it is right for you.

World Community Grid website

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It seems to me this is a good use for out-dated pcs that people may have replace but don't know what to do with.... Maybe I'll pull one out of storage and add it to the network! Thanks for the suggestion.

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It seems to me this is a good use for out-dated pcs that people may have replace but don't know what to do with.... Maybe I'll pull one out of storage and add it to the network! Thanks for the suggestion.

Actually (considering this is in an environmentally friendly forum) using older computers for this task is the worst possible thing to do. Older computers are much more inefficient when compared to newer models, both in the power they consume and in the amount of data they can process in any given time.

I would only commit to participating in a distributed computing project if my computer were required to stay on 24/7. You can easily save $20-$60/year by having your typical home desktop computer to go sleep when you're not using it. It doesn't take much to figure out that converts into a carbon footprint reduction.

FWIW, these programs are also hard on the processor as the use unused cycles. Newer processors will back off on power consumption when the processor isn't being utilized 100%, but since using these programs will max it out at 100% (some programs allow you to customize how many resources it uses), you can easily end up using more power by running these programs than if you weren't running them.

I'm not suggesting that you should stay out of one of these programs, but consider the carbon footprint involved and how good the program is. Programs that assist in finding a cure for cancer or AIDS should be put ahead of programs that search for aliens for example, but perhaps that is my outright opinion.

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Neo, you are right about your concerns. I agree that using an older computer might not be very efficient. I also had the same worries about my processor when i began, so i did a little research. I didn't want it to overhead my computer or anything like that. The program i use (W.C.G.) sets the default max processor usage at 60%, which you can adjust in preferences. It allows for quick computing, but also "is a safe setting for modern pc's" so they claim. Once again, i am not overly computer savy, so i do not claim to know what is best for my(or anyone's) computer, just pointing this out.

I also agree that certain projects are more important that others. To each his own, but i personally didn't want to increase my energy consumption for the SETI project. I think it is a worthwhile endeavor, but it's not something i care to use my resources to assist. I dedicated my processor to the Clean Energy Project, because more efficient solar cell's is something i believe in.

Increased energy consumption is definitely a bad thing. However, as i stated before, it's a personal sacrifice i feel justified in making to help the greater good. After all, i'm just doing a tiny fraction of research that would be done by another computer anyways. Hopefully, the results will help in developing cleaner energy for all of us.

Neo, thanks for pointing out a few problems. It's definitely something for people to think about before beginning something like this.

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