What is your computer doing most of the day? Chances are, not much. Sure you’re editing a document or checking your E-Mail but is that really utilizing your computer’s full potential? Unless your computer is 10 years old, probably not!
So, what to do with all of this extra horsepower that’s just sitting there? Donate it to science!
The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing or BOINC is a project that takes advantage of the untapped computing power of ordinary desktop computers and puts it to good use by participating in projects such as finding a cure for cancer, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, and fighting AIDS.
You can specify the program to run all the time like I do, but out of the box it runs only as a screensaver, which means that it will not make your computer slow and only is used when your computer is free. Having the program run full-time is a good option when your computer has more than one processor core (a dual-core or quad-core computer in most cases).
Over 500,000 computers worldwide work together to create a networked suptercomputer using distributed computing to solve some of the world’s problems.
After downloading the program to your computer and installing it you are asked to join a “project”. There are many projects that take advantage of the extensive network of desktop, servers, and super computers running the BOINC program. The ones mentioned before are just 3 of the many available to you.
For every bit of work you do as a BOINC user, you gain credits. You, your team (if you choose to join one [Go Team Canada!]), and your country receive credits based on your work completed.
Using BOINC is a fun way to take advantage of an idle computer. You can help out scientists all over the world across a wide array of projects. From aliens to sudoku puzzles, BOINC computes them all with lightning speed.