FUF: Grid Computing and Election '08 Lives On

Friday, November 14, 2008

Follow Up Friday looks at what your computer can accomplish while it's resting with John Abell, NY Bureau chief for Wired; and an update with Jonathan Allen of CQPolitics on what Alaska, Minnesota, and Georgia have yet to accomplish: picking their next Senator.


John Abell and Jonathan Allen
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Comments [2]

Jonathan Brier from Michigan

In response to John Abell's interview - there were a few things that were incorrect and a few thing I think merit knowing.

The easiest way to find more information and to get involved in any of the Berkeley is through GridRepublic (, what is call an account manager and is working in collaboration with BOINC for this.

1. The BOINC program can be set to run while you are using your computer or not it is your choice.

2. Your computer does not have to run the screen saver to run Berkeley's program in the background.

3. Your power use varies between using this program and not, but a few things depend on this. Do you have a laptop or desktop. Laptops tend to use a fraction of a desktop at full power. The total cost per year difference would only be under $75 per year estimated. The total benefit outweighs that cost enormously as science is always in need or more computing abilities for research.

4. All the subjects you support are your choice alone.

Nov. 14 2008 04:08 PM
Bill Scheffler from Woodland Park, NJ

For more than a decade my personal computers have been number crunching for medical research while I surfed the web, or did word processing, as well as when the screen saver was on.

The programs that run in the background mostly do computational chemistry.

For example, the project I started on tried to find drug molecules that fit well in leukemia cancer cells. Kind of like trying millions of keys to see which one opens a lock.

Currently, my computer is working on several projects from that include cancer, AIDS, and dengue fever research as well as research into more nutritious rice and human protein folding.

Web surfing or word processing uses only a fraction of my computer's processing power so the research gets a free ride on the rest.

However, I do turn the computer off when I don't plan to use it for two hours or more.

Leaving the computer on all the time just to avoid booting is controversial since it raises power consumption and carbon emissions.

Nov. 14 2008 12:28 PM

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