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Even the oldest, crappiest PC has plenty of computing power going unused in its idle moments. Distributed computing projects—where software ties together a huge number of internet-connected PCs to work on computationally massive problems—can put those cycles to good use. For example, you've probably heard of SETI@home (the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence), a distributed computing project that goes back to the 1990s. It was spawned at Berkeley and uses volunteer PCs to analyze signals from space.
The software that allows anyone to contribute to the SETI computation is called BOINC. It is also the backbone for projects to cure disease, predict the climate, even to model the universe. Find one you want to back, set up BOINC on that old PC, and let it run in the background, helping others while it doesn't help you.
Contribute Your Phone to Science
As long your old smartphone still turns on,
it's probably just about as powerful and capable as your late-90s desktop.
So, why not "donate" some of those unused resources to a good cause?
Currently just for Android, you can download the BOINC app (Google Play),
which was developed by the University of Berkeley
to harnesses your device's unused computing power for crowd sourced science.
You can help SETI@Home search for alien signals,
use computational power for health and sustainability research
with IBM's World Community Grid,
assist Asteroids@home in trying to avoid the planet getting hit by an asteroid,
and other such projects.[/QUOTE]
QUOTE: Using a space game to beat cancer seems like a strange thing to attempt but that is exactly what Cancer Research UK are doing through their app Play to Cure: Genes in Space. It appears that we are very good at collecting genetic data but not so good at analysing it. Scientists have to spend hours painstakingly analysing the genetic faults in cancer samples looking for clues that will help them develop new treatments.
Genes in Space incorporates this genetic data into a game format. This allows everyone with a mobile device to participate in this vital research. The great thing is that the more people who play the game the quicker the data gets analysed. Cancer Research UK believe that having more eyes on the data will not only speed up the process but it could also generate more accurate results.
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