Lend your idle computer to research
- By: Balaji Ravichandran
Ever dreamt of being part of the next biomedical revolution? Well, if you have a computer and an internet connection, here is your chance. The concept, called “distributed computing infrastructure,” is simple. For a given project, massive amounts of data are collected by central servers, split up into small units, and sent to your computer through the internet. A piece of software called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing; http://boinc.berkeley.edu) analyses these bits of data in the background as you continue working normally on a computer.
Once your computer is done with a unit, it swaps the analysed bit for a new unanalysed unit with the central server, and the whole process is repeated. Remember though that all this happens without you ever having to pay attention to the software. For optimum performance, it is recommended that you check out the system requirements beforehand. If you have a slow