News from the parallel multiverse

Using all the processing power of of your computer while it is idly waiting for you is a great idea – especially when its used for advancing medicine and science. It’s become so simple, secure and fun – so here are some of the recent developments in the “parallel multiverse”:

Open-Source Software for Volunteer Computing und Grid Computing.

BOINC 6.12.26 released to public
The next version of BOINC is now ready for public use. Check the release notes and version history for details. (17 May 2011)
BoincTasks 1.00 released
Version 1.00 of BoincTasks (a Windows program for managing BOINC clients) has been released after 2 years of hard work and with the help of many volunteers. (19 May 2011)
BOINC Workshop
The 7th BOINC Workshop will be held 18-19 August 2011 in Hannover, Germany.


BOINC currently has over 300.000 helpers contributing almost half a million computers – the average performance is estimated at about 5.7 PetaFLOPS – essentially for free, the machines are running anyway. To put it in perspective, the fastest Supercomputer these days with 186368 cores does 2.6 (avg) – 4.7 (peak) PetaFlops and burns approx. 4 MegaWatts of juice. In addition, the latest versions of BOINC also make use of the power of your GPU!

Also it’s worthwhile checking out gridrepublic.org developed in collaboration with and powered by BOINC:

GridRepublic members run a screensaver that allows their computers to work on public-interest research projects when the machines are not otherwise in use. This screensaver does not affect performance of the host computer any more than an ordinary screensaver does.
By aggregating idle resources from users around the world, we create a massive supercomputer.

It’s a really surprisingly simple 3step process: After registration, you pick the projects you’d like to contribute to, download & run the software – that’s it!
Here is a collection of bioinformatics-related projects:

Rosetta@home: determine the 3-dimensional shape of proteins

POEM@home: a novel approach to determining protein structure computationally

Docking@Home: atomic details protein-ligand interactions, enable adaptive multi-scale modeling

Proteins@home: Inverse Protein Folding Problem

Quantum Monte Carlo: development of the Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) method for general use in Quantum Chemistry.

As reported in this article in science recently “Rosetta-designed Protein Shows Promise as Flu Therapeutic: Flu-fighting proteins designed on Rosetta@home have been found effective in lab tests; the research team is “guardedly optimistic” that they will block flu infection” – here’s the press-release and check out the blog from Discover Magazine.

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