From Screensavers to Saving the World Through Citizen Science: World Community Grid

By June 20th, 2012 at 10:10 am | Comment


Idleness never looked more productive. Here’s a citizen science project that quite literally requires zero energy from you in order to participate!

The World Community Grid is a global project that harnesses energy from idle computers to contribute to scientific research. When your computer goes idle, instead of changing to a screensaver featuring swimming fish, slideshows of your favorite animals, or free-floating geometric designs, your computer can request data for a specific project on the World Community Grid server. The Grid uses technology developed by UC Berkeley (BOINC) in order to collect and pool valuable research data. Each computation provides scientists with critical information that accelerates the pace of research.

Grid computing” technology joins together remote individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that surpasses that of many supercomputers. Because the work is split into small pieces, research time is reduced from years to months. Not only is this more time efficient, but it’s also more cost effective.

One of their first projects, Human Proteome Folding, identified the proteins produced by human genes. With this information, scientists discovered 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. Current projects include Computing for Sustainable Water, GO Fight Against Malaria, and Discovering Dengue Drugs Together.

Donate your idle computer time to a greater good in scientific research by registering for the World Community Grid and downloading their free and secure software to get started!

From screensavers to saving the world through scientific research. Get started now!

Categories: Chemistry

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