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Your PC can Help Scientists Research Climate Change

Did you know that much of the time your computer is turned on it is sitting idle, waiting for further instruction or tasks to complete? More specifically, the CPU (Central Processing Unit) is essentially a turbo-charged calculator that has little to do in the service of day-to-day tasks, like browsing the web. As it happens, this is an unutilised resource we can use to aid science.

BOINC [1] is a long standing research platform leveraging the power of distributed computing to work on “hard” scientific problems; analysis of radio signals in the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence [2] (SETI@Home) is the first project that saw the opportunity in tackling computationally intensive projects by engaging the public in this way.

Nowadays there is many projects to choose from [3] covering a wide range of disciplines. Of special interest to us is [4]. Undertaking climate modelling experiments, the project is always in need of more computational power to progress the research. Run by the University of Oxford, you can be assured contributing your spare [5] computer system resources will make a tangible difference.

All it takes to get started is to download and install the free BOINC Client [6] and create an account. That way you can also keep track as you rise up the leaderboard. Naturally, number crunching consumes some amount of power – I’d suggest keeping up your usual routine and not running BOINC when you would ordinarily not be using your computer. Think of it as a bonus gift to the planet.

P.S. – I switch between and SETI. Maybe I will be the one who’s analysis identifies ET !!


5. The program is designed to relinquish CPU cycles to other processes when needed, ensuring negligible impact on overall performance and responsiveness.


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