World Community Grid

As an update to my previous Cloud Computing post, I came across an interesting grid/distributed computing project, the World Community Grid. The WCG’s aim is to create the world’s largest public computational grid, with the goal of seeking projects that benefit humanity. IBM is the primary corporate sponsor, and, according to the site, it “has donated the hardware, software, technical services and expertise to build the infrastructure for World Community Grid and provides free hosting, maintenance and support.” The agent software used for WCG is based on BOINC, an open source platform for grid and distributed computing projects.

The first project to run on WCG resources is Human Proteome Folding. This involves calculating the precise spatial configuration of proteins, and can be used to identify the ways in which defects in protein folding can cause certain diseases. There are currently 11 projects, including Cancer research, Clean Energy, and producing genetically-optimized strains of nutritious rice.

Personally, I hope to see the WCG expand its reach. It would be interesting to see a major hardware manufacturer (looking in your direction Dell, HP, Apple) include a WCG agent in the default OS image, similar to the agreements with Google, Firefox, et. al. with regards to bundled software. Imagine if even one large vendor enabled grid software on all new machines. Of course, the owner should be informed of the existence of this software, and its benefit explained. Most people probably would never know or care, as long as the agent ran on idle CPU time. Many would likely be impressed that _their_ computer could be used to one day cure a disease such as cancer, or solve an equally pernicious problem that plagues humanity.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.