Grid computing is making big contributions to scientific research, helping scientists around the world to analyze and store massive amounts of data.
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) @Home project
SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.
BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)
Developed by University of California, Berkeley, BOINC lets you contribute computing power on your home PC to projects doing research in many scientific areas. BOINC is a common one for academic projects seeking public volunteers; more are listed at the end of the article.
BOINC was originally developed to support the SETI@home project before it became useful as a platform for other distributed applications in areas as diverse as mathematics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, and astrophysics.
Folding@home (abbreviated as FAH or F@h)
Folding@home is a distributed computing project, that very simply stated, studies protein folding and misfolding. Understanding how proteins self-assemble (“protein folding”) is a holy grail of modern molecular biophysics.
Einstein@Home is a program that uses your computer’s idle time to search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational wave detector. It also searches for radio pulsars in binary systems, using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
GIMPS – Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search
GIMPS, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, was formed in January 1996 to discover new world-record-size Mersenne primes. GIMPS harnesses the power of thousands of small computers like yours to search for these “needles in a haystack”.
LHC@home is a volunteer computing program which enables you to contribute idle time on your computer to help physicists develop and exploit particle accelerators, such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
World Community Grid
World Community Grid’s mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity, which is funded and operated by IBM. Using the idle time of computers around the world, World Community Grid’s research projects have analyzed aspects of the human genome, HIV, dengue, muscular dystrophy, and cancer.
Three German ciphers unsolved since World War II has been solved by running code-breaking software on a “grid” of internet-linked home computers.