Millions of personal computers sit idly on desks and in homes worldwide. What if each of the world’s estimated 650 million PCs could be linked to focus on humanity’s most pressing issues? To make this vision a reality, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has become a partner of World Community Grid, joining the IBM Corporation and a group of more than 90 leading companies, associations, foundations and academic institutions. NJIT is encouraging its students and staff to contribute their idle PC time to World Community Grid at www.worldcommunitygrid.org.
World Community Grid uses grid technology to establish a permanent, flexible infrastructure that provides researchers with a readily available pool of computational power that can be used to solve problems plaguing humanity. Grid technology joins together many individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that far exceeds the power of a few supercomputers. Importantly, World Community Grid is easy and safe to use.
To join, members should go to www.worldcommunitygrid.org and simply download and install a free, small software program on their computers. When idle, your computers request data from World Community Grid’s server. Computers then perform computations using this data, send the results back to the server and prompt it for a new piece of work.
“World Community Grid provides our busy students and staff with an efficient and effective way to make a difference on problems that plague humanity,” said Priscilla Nelson, NJIT Provost. “We are asking our students and staff to join World Community Grid as part of our overall efforts to enrich the lives of our communities.”
Over the last year, World Community Grid ran the Human Proteome Folding Project, which has been providing scientists with data on how individual proteins within the human body affect human health, enabling them to develop new cures for diseases like lyme disease, malaria and tuberculosis. Scientists now have descriptions of 120,000 protein domains that are critical of human well-being; without the benefit of this free grid technology, it would have taken 5 years to get these results, compared with just 12 months on World Community Grid. Possible future projects will address global humanitarian issues, such as new and existing infectious disease research; genomic and disease research; and natural disasters and hunger.