Ever wondered how you could use up those unused computational cycles on your pc, but just don’t know how to do it? Feel the need to be an elite scientist, but can’t be arsed with all that pesky studying and pieces of paper with degrees on it? Do you know what NaCl is? Are you just plain lazy?
Then have I got a deal for you!
All right, I’m coming out, loud and proud. I’m just going to say it.
I am a nerd! I love Sci-fi! I have seen all of Star Trek (maybe not all of Deep Space Nine, ’cause it was pretty dodgy in the beginning)! I have read all the Dune novels (even the dodgy one’s by Frank Herbert’s son)! I know the chemical formula for table salt.
There. I said it.
And to prove it, today I bought some milk, played a couple of games on facebook, chatted to lady two doors up, and analysed stellar radio waves with a 1.4Ghz base frequency captured at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico searching for a stable transmission proving the existence of intelligent life on other planets and astronomical bodies that are listening to us and trying to send us a message back. Yeah, bet that made you cream in your Yoda print collectable y-fronts!
Thanks to Berkeley University and other educations and research facilities, you can link your computer up a central network that uses unused cycles to analyse data on a whole host of topics. As a sci-fi nerd, I went for SETI@Home (the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life) but yoiu can chose others like Climateprediction.com (data forecasting climate change), Rosetta@Home (determining 3D models of protiens to aid medical research), or PrimeGrid (searching for the largest known Prime numbers).
This sort of network in essence creates a supercomputer to process all this raw data. And it’s so easy, you can do it in your sleep. Well, actually, your computer does it while you are asleep, or facebooking … or searching porn.
So if you’re interested you can start by downloading the BIONC program here, and then choose what sort of project you want to volunteer to be apart of.
As someone who travels but still calls Australia home, I podcast Dr Karl on Triple J every Thursday morning. Featured this week was Jill Tarter from SETI@Home. They talk all things science, astronomy, extraterrestrial life and those pesky Mayans and their wild philosophies.
Here endth my free advertisement. So get computating!