Some weeks ago, having a faster computer and Internet connection at my place of work, I looked up the old SETI program to see what new news they had.
I was delighted to read they are part of a much larger organization: The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), that supports volunteer and grid computing not only for the original SETI@home project, but now as a platform for other areas as diverse as mathematics, linguistics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, environmental science, and astrophysics.
On May 16th, I joined MilkyWay@Home that uses volunteer computers to create a 3D map of the Carina–Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy we call home. Since then, as of this morning, in my computer's downtime, it has contributed 26.69 quadrillion floating-point operations to the MilkyWay@Home project.
|Not bad work for a mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Bible thumper who writes dark fantasy romances with a body count.|
I also joined a team of 60 people that are working together for the project and as of this morning, I had jumped up to #33 for most processing done.
It's a lot of fun and no, I do not get paid. The only satisfaction is knowing I am helping build a 3D model of the galaxy which piques my interest.
If you would like to do something similar, the process is very simple:
- Go to the BOINC website.
- Choose a project from the list of 39 projects.
- Download the software.
- Register for an account.
- Run the software and watch it crunch data that adds invaluable information to various worlds of science. Who knows? It might be your computer that crunches the final data that finds our interstellar neighbors, comes up with a cure for malaria, makes breakthrough in climate study, or finds the asteroid that causes the next great extinction event!