I have blogged thought I had blogged about the Berkely Open Infrastructure Networked Computing (BOINC) Project before, but it appears I haven't.The BBC ran a big project on the network called "ClimatePrediction.net." When your computer is turned on, the program uses either your processor when it's 'idle' or you can configure it to use a percentage even while your working to process data. This data is downloaded from a central respository, and there are thousands of computers connected all doing their own little bit.

As you can imagine, hiring on of the big IBM machines to run such experiments isn't an option, so along with Google's clusters, BOINC aims to give organisations that wouldn't have the chance of accessing such high computational power the chance - by letting the people choose.

If you download BOINC, you can choose what projects you want to help with. Me, being a geek, first got on board with the SETI@Home project, which was originally an independent distributed network - but due to it's success spawned BOINC.

BOINC has been going for a few years now, and it's something I've been dipping in and out of since it first began.

One of the projects I've been interested in (and contributing time to) was the Protein Folding Experiment. I got an email off the administrator today:

In the period before the summer, more than 15,000
volunteers participated in the Proteins@Home project.
I would like to thank all of you for your overwhelming
support. My warm thanks also go to the BOINC development
and testing community.

Thanks to you, we were able to make significant scientific
contributions to the protein folding problem and to protein
structure prediction methods. Our first publications are
just becoming available: see, eg,
A book on distributed computing will also appear in 2008,
with a chapter describing Proteins@Home:
Distributed & Grid Computing -- Science Made Transparent
for Everyone. Principles, Applications and Supporting
Communities, Tektum Publishers, Berlin.

In the last few months, thanks to the Proteins@Home
results, we have considerably improved our prediction
method and are beginning to apply it to specific protein
families such as the Src homology domains and so-called
WW domains. This will help us identify new members of
these families and understand the function of newly-
discovered genes. More information is in the attached

With our improved methodology in place, we are ready
for a new computation phase. We hope that you will
participate in this new phase.

Please Take a look.