Wednesday, July 30, 2014
How To Run World Community Grid On Your Computer And How It Helps To Find Cures For Diseases
First off for those that have never heard of world community grid, what is it? Without getting too scientific so that I can keep this simple, programs like world community grid and folding@home are grid computing software that allows every person with a desktop computer, laptop or smartphone to participate in scientific research that can lead to cures or breakthrough drugs for many human disease that affect millions of people every year. I won't go into detail about how the programs actually do this research but to put it simply they crunch data that has already been collected to determine the shapes, changes in shape and interactions of different molecules related to the diseases being researched.
How can your home computer/ipad or smart phone help? Simply by downloading this program and letting it run on your system. Once you install the BOINC software on your system a small piece of data in the kilobyte or lower megabyte range will be sent to your system over the Internet. Your cpu will start doing the data processing on this piece of data called a work unit. In as little as an hour but up to 12 hours depending on the size of the work unit your computer will finish the data crunching and send the work unit back to home base at Stanford University. These work units are then assembled together to form the completed research project. With millions of these work units being completed every day we are getting closer to finding cures for disease like cancer and HIV.
Can my computer really help find a cure for a disease like cancer? Absolutely it can. Many drugs that we use today came about through the use of computer research. There are many big super computers that are working on large amounts of data collected in the lab and trying to develop new treatments and drugs this way. Without the incredible power of these machines we would not have many of the medicines we have today. The problem is that using these super computers can be very expensive for scientists and research groups. Even with millions of dollars at their disposal these behemoth machines can be out of reach for smaller research labs. That's where world community grid and folding@home come in. A program like this allows people like me and you to become research partners. It's much cheaper to use our idle systems to do this valuable scientific work than to have to pay millions of dollars a month for it. Plus, there are many groups lined up to use the resources that world community grid provides. All we need now is more people running this program so we can get this research done. There are so many things that scientist don't know about these diseaes but with your help we can increase human knowledge.
What will I accomplish by running this program and will I be rewarded? You can accomplish a lot by running one of these programs. First and most important of all you will be contributing to scientific knowledge and working towards a future where there is no disease. It may sound like an impossible dream but computers become faster every day and as I said above many of the biggest super computers are already working on disease research. Real science is being done through world community grid and folding@home, the proof of that is more than 200 peer reviewed scientific papers that have been published by these two programs combined. Not just anyone can publish these types of papers, you need to be a scientist working with a research group and have very good credentials. By running one of these programs on your computer you become part of these research groups. As far as rewards go you can read this blog and the blogs connected to it to see what prizes you can earn, I have plans to give away things like magic the gathering cards, autographed baseball, basketball and football cards as well as pure silver coins, makeup kits, gift cards for restaurants and stores and many other items. The biggest reward however is the knowlege you are making the world you live in a better place and hopefully a place that in the future will have no diseases.
Will this program give me any viruses when I download it? There is no chance of getting a virus while downloading these programs. They are both run by IBM and their home servers are on the campus of Stanford University which is home to some of the smartest people in the world. I have never once heard of anyone getting a virus through the download process and I have personally been using these two software programs for over 20 years.
Will world community grid or folding@home slow down my computer? Nope, the program is actually designed to use the minimum amount of resources from your computer. It know when you are doing more with your CPU and adjusts itself accordingly. Lets say you are chatting on Facebook or watching YouTube videos, these tasks take very little cpu cycles to perform so the software will use more of your unused CPU power. Now lets say you start playing a video game that has very high end graphics, this will take more processing power from your computer so the BOINC software will lower the amount of processing power it takes from your CPU or even shut itself off until you are done playing. Despite all of this the program never uses more than about 10% of your computers resources, you can however adjust the software settings to allow it to use more or less if you want to get more work units done or insure you don't use more than a minimum amount of power.
What does the future of grid computing look like? Computers are becoming faster every day and with two thirds of the world still offline there is plenty of room for growth in the grid computing community. In the coming years we will see an exponential increase in the data crunching capacity of programs like world community grid and folding@home. This will mean that projects can be finished sooner and more research can be done. There is already hope that Stanford researcher have found a cure for a common childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. If a new drug they are developing does turn out to have a positive affect against the disease it will be a big win for us and world community grid will get a ton of media attention. This will bring more people in who are willing to run these programs on their computers which will have a huge impact on data completion time.
How do I Install world community grid or folding@home? You really only want to run one of these programs at once and for the most part we try to concentrate on world community grid on this blog. To be honest this software is so easy to install that you don't really need an installation guide. Over the years I have gotten hundreds of people to sign up and I can tell you that I've always been able to help them get it up and running just by talking to them in a private message or in a forum. If you do need help you can always contact me through my facebook page or post a comment below.
Click on the link below and download the program. This should only take you one or two minutes. Once you are finished you should see the BOINC software running.
Then you need to join team Endthedisease. You will need to be on this team to win any future prizes from me and even if you don't want any reward I like getting new members so please join.