Putting Your Computer Cycles to Work for Good

Nearly 2 years ago I posted a list of some of my favorite podcasts. Reviewing that post I see some have disappeared and some I don’t listen to as regularly as I should. And there a some that I listen to regularly now that are not on the list. I will update my favorites some day soon, but want to mention one I listen to daily (working days): Marketplace Tech Report. It’s a 5 minute or so tech news show with a twist. John Moe and team highlight often under reported but really interesting stories often with a touch of humor.

Last week on Market Place Tech I heard a story about Harvard wanting to borrow your computer to help develop a better solar cell. Remember SETI? I used to run a program on my computers that allowed the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence to use your idle computer cycles to analyze data gathered from space. This project is similar in concept: You download an application that connects to the project’s system, the application downloads raw data, runs through some algorithms and sends the analyzed data back to the mother ship. It’s a neat idea. And while the Tech Report highlighted the Harvard Solar Cell program, it’s really one of several you can participate in through the World Community Grid.World Community Grid

So I’ve signed up and am now allowing my computer to help on projects from alternative energy to curing cancer. Why not? It’s a bit of work to create an account and set it up, but it’s better than having your computer be a slave in a botnet sending out spam, now isn’t it?