Some members of the Satellites club participate in other endeavors like distributed computing (DC). There are projects that fold proteins in an effort to find cures for a large number of human diseases, or search the universe for gravity waves. DC projects help the scientific community solve big number crunching problems. During our first project, one of the members created a Satellites Team Forum where observations and problems could be discussed. Its use was expanded to cover all of our DC projects. There are many distributed computing projects available on the web. If you don’t like any of the ones we have chosen, look at some others. You’ll probably find one that you think deserves your support.
There are several DF projects that have a “Satellites” team. Our first project, “Distributed Folding” sourced here in Toronto, is now offline. Here are some of the current projects with a Satellites team.
No, its not just a crazy sound. Its the name of a distribution system that allows a DC project to distribute its “work units” and client code from their servers to the client processes you run on your machine to support their project. Created by the same people who created “Seti@home”, the first widely recognized distributed computing project, it was created to provide a high function process for DC projects so that they didn’t have to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak. The BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) software installed in your computer manages the projects you select to run on your PC.
- Rosetta@Home (Team statistics)
Currently this project is our main project. More of our team members are active here than elsewhere.
- Einstein@Home (Team statistics)
- SIMAP@home (now offline)
- MalariaControl (now offline)
- The Lattice Project (Team statistics)
“A broad spectrum of life science research will benefit greatly from increased access to high performance computing resources. Several properties of modern life sciences research drive the need for high performance computing.”
- Folding@Home (Team statistics)
This is a mature protein folding distributed computing project, not under the BOINC umbrella. To quote from their website:
“What are proteins and why do they “fold”? Proteins are biology’s workhorses — its “nanomachines.” Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or “fold.” The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. Moreover, perhaps not surprisingly, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. “misfold”), there can be serious effects, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease.”
- World Community Grid (Team statistics)
What Do I Need To Do?
If you’d like to get involved in a Distributed Computing project, here are the steps to follow. You need one or more PCs running Windows or Linux, with access to the internet.
1. Download and install BOINC. During installation on a Windows system you will be asked how you want to run BOINC. It can be run as a normal application program, in the background as a system process, or as a screen saver.
2. Select a project. The Boinc website has a comprehensive list.
3. Go to the project’s website and create an account.
4. Run the BOINC manager. Click on the Tools menu and select Attach to Project. You will be presented with a wizard where you enter the project URL, your email address and your password. If all goes well, BOINC will download the project software and start running the project.
5. You can run as many projects as you like, and they will share your computer’s resources. In each project’s account preferences you can specify the percentage of available CPU time it should use.
That’s it. BOINC runs as a low-priority task and has little or no effect on other applications you run on your computer.