Saturday, January 17, 2009

We are (all) scientists

Y'all (well, the eagle-eyed amongst you) will have spotted a small image on the right-hand side of this blog, with a list of some random numbers and meaningless acronyms. For clarity, I've added the image again below:

my BOINC stats. get it!

This is my small contribution to the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) - a silly acronym, but a very worthy cause. BOINC allows you to take the spare processing capacity on any computer you own, and donate it to scientific projects from around the world. Simply download a small piece of software, select a bunch of projects you're interested in, and it pretty much looks after itself from there. You can choose to limit the amount of disk space / processor / bandwidth usage, as well as what day of the week and time of day BOINC will run at (I run at 100% 24/7, on both the machines I have it installed on - HARDCORE). I'm mostly writing this post cos I'm chuffed that I broke the 100,000 credits mark (you get credits for the amount of tasks your machines have completed), but I think it's worthwhile writing about such a tremendously useful endeavour anyway.

The projects that I subscribe to are a mix of very worthy causes: Climate Prediction, fairly self-explanatory; and Rosetta, a project looking at ways to combine proteins that will hopefully lead to the creation of new medicines), and personal quests: SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) - how cool would it be to discover the first ET transmission! Right now, the desktop I'm writing this at is also analysing data that was recorded by the Arecibo radio telescope on the 10th December 2008, scanning for patterns, signal amongst the background noise of the cosmos.

Make this your good deed for the day - download and install the BOINC client, and put your machine's spare time to good use :)


JohnD said...

Nice post, is the boinc link on right hand side an image or a plug in one can add to their Blog ?

Spark said...

I would like to bring to your attention and of anyone following this by recommending GridRepublic as a way to get started with BOINC and something to use if you already use BOINC as it makes life easier.

GridRepublic is a nonprofit working in collaboration with BOINC to make it simple and easy to discover projects, join them, manage the settings, and manage one or more computers all from one login on one site. Many things are planned come be part of a revolution.

It is found at I highly recommend at least checking it out.

the electric monk said...

@JohnD, it's just an image I added using Blogger's HTML/Javascript Gadget. I generated the image at, you should check it out, there's also an option for adding BOINC stats to a Facebook page.

Thanks for dropping by!


the electric monk said...

@Spark, thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

designneverdies said...

So what computers/specs are you running BOINC on? :)

the electric monk said...

@designneverdies - currently running on 3 machines, all Dell. One desktop, a GX270 P4 2.8Ghz running Ubuntu 8.10, and two notebooks, a Latitude D630, dual-core, can't remember other specs, running XP SP2, and a beat-up Latitude 2200 that can barely remember what 2 + 2 comes to, also running Ubuntu 8.10 :)

Yrself? You on any BOINC teams?