Friday, December 24, 2004

A Kinder, Gentler Borg 

Image from Section31.comPosted by Hello

Back on Star Trek, the Borg were a race that were all tied together into a collective, blasting things and forcefully assimilating all who they could.

For those of you in a do-gooder mood this Christmas, there is a chance to become part of a kinder, gentler Borg. IBM is leading a partnership to create a gigantic volunteer effort to link potentially millions of home computers to tackle some of the world's more pressing problems. Each computer that is part of the program receives data to process, the processed data are sent back to the server and the program repeats the process.

Since the amounts of data can be process simultaneously, the process if far more efficient than any supercomputer. The current effort is the Human Proteome Folding project, an attempt to discover links between the configuration of specific proteins and certain diseases.

The program is called World Community Grid, which can be downloaded from their website. Once installed, it runs when the computer is on, during the computer's idle time. I gave it a try: it does eat up a bit of power, but the program can be configured to run as only a screen saver or only at a certain time during the day. Check the website, and decide for yourself if it's something you would be interested in.

Now go get assimilated.

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