Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IBM Sponsors Humanitarian Grid Computing Project

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the many-stones-can-form-an-arch-singly-none-singly-none dept.

IBM 181

BrianWCarver writes "Reuters reports that IBM and top scientific research organizations are joining forces in a humanitarian effort to tap the unused power of millions of computers and help solve complex social problems. Following the example of SETI@home, the project, dubbed The World Community Grid, will seek to tap the vast underutilized power of computers belonging to individuals and businesses worldwide and channel it into selected medical and environmental research programs. The first project to benefit will be Human Proteome Folding, an effort to identify the genetic structure of proteins that can cause diseases. The client is currently available for Windows XP, 2000, ME, and 98."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FRIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836373)

that disease was funnie

omg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836455)

i got #1, i shudnt have posted anon

does it still hurt ur karmas if you post anon?

BSD Sponsors Hot Geek Babe! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836376)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please show your support [calcgames.org] for Ceren in this poll of Geek Babes!

Is it any wonder people think Linux [debian.org] users are a bunch of flaming homosexuals [lemonparty.org] when its fronted by obviously gay losers [nylug.org] like these?! BSD [dragonflybsd.org] has a mascot [freebsd.org] who leaves us in no doubt that this is the OS for real men! If Linux had more hot chicks [hope-2000.org] and gorgeous babes [hope-2000.org] then maybe it would be able to compete with BSD [openbsd.org] ! Hell this girl [electricrain.com] should be a model!

Linux [gentoo.org] is a joke as long as it continues to lack sexy girls like her [dis.org] ! I mean just look at this girl [dis.org] ! Doesn't she [dis.org] excite you? I know this little hottie [dis.org] puts me in need of a cold shower! This guy looks like he is about to cream his pants standing next to such a fox [spilth.org] . As you can see, no man can resist this sexy [spilth.org] little minx [dis.org] . Don't you wish the guy in this [wigen.net] pic was you? Are you telling me you wouldn't like to get your hands on this ass [dis.org] ?! Wouldn't this [electricrain.com] just make your Christmas?! Yes doctor, this uber babe [electricrain.com] definitely gets my pulse racing! Oh how I envy the lucky girl in this [electricrain.com] shot! Linux [suse.com] has nothing that can possibly compete. Come on, you must admit she [imagewhore.com] is better than an overweight penguin [tamu.edu] or a gay looking goat [gnu.org] ! Wouldn't this [electricrain.com] be more liklely to influence your choice of OS?

With sexy chicks [minions.com] like the lovely Ceren [dis.org] you could have people queuing up to buy open source products. Could you really refuse to buy a copy of BSD [netbsd.org] if she [dis.org] told you to? Personally I know I would give my right arm to get this close [dis.org] to such a divine beauty [czarina.org] !

Don't be a fag [gay-sex-access.com] ! Join the campaign [slashdot.org] for more cute [wigen.net] open source babes [wigen.net] today!

$Id: ceren.html,v 9.0 2004/08/01 16:01:34 ceren_rocks Exp $

Re:BSD Sponsors Hot Geek Babe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836599)

they're not even hot... when has a geek girl been hot? go to your local university and attend any CS class

Wow (0, Flamebait)

ilyanep (823855) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836381)

I'm not quite sure if this will do much good -- who will sign up, like 30 people? -- but it's a very interesting idea.

Great! (0)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836386)

It's only about two weeks since I suggested we use our space cycles for something link this, and now I see this headline. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! :-)

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836433)

Well, you're our first patient then...quick everyone set their computers to research internal "warm and fuzzy" feelings...could take a lot of CPU cycles to crack this one...

Re:Great! (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836473)

I don't have a space cycle, you insensitive clod!

Re:Great! (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836582)

Pedal powered difference engine still booting up?

Now We Can Scale Up: +1, Seditious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836516)

Gnutellia, Not Gnutelliums [gnutelliums.com]

Patriotically as always,
Kilgore Trout

Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836844)

Is /. essentially Ars Technica delayed by 2 hours?

Curious.... (2, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836391)

The system is trying to find and locate a person who might be carrying a deadly virus. If anyone finds a "Conner, Sarah", please report it to this grid. We'd hate for her to be the cause of an entire planet's viral infestation.

Forgive my ignorance... (5, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836393)

But isn't the Stanford Folding project already doing part of this?

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (5, Informative)

Xeo 024 (755161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836553)

That was the first thing that popped into my head, too.

For those of you who don't know Stanford's project, called Folding@Home [berkeley.edu] , uses computer cycles to observe and find out more about how proteins fold.

Now how is this really different from IBM's project?

From IBM's World Community Grid website [worldcommunitygrid.org] :

"However, scientists still do not know the functions of a large fraction of human proteins. With an understanding of how each protein affects human health, scientists can develop new cures for human disease.

Huge amounts of data exist that can identify the role of individual proteins, but it must be analyzed to be useful. This analysis could take years to complete on super computers. World Community Grid hopes to shrink this time to months. Human Proteome Proteins are long and disordered chains folded into globs. The number of shapes that proteins can fold into is enormous. Searching through all of the possible shapes to identify the correct function of an individual protein is a tremendous challenge.

The Human Proteome Folding project will provide scientists with data that predicts the shape of a very large number of human proteins. These predictions will give scientists the clues they need to identify the biological functions of individual proteins within the human body. With an understanding of how each protein affects human health, scientists can develop new cures for human diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and malaria."

From Stanford's Folding@Home 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."

"What does Folding@Home do? Folding@Home is a distributed computing project which studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. We use novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing, to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. This has allowed us to simulate folding for the first time, and to now direct our approach to examine folding related disease."

They both sound like they're out to accomplish the same exact thing. I could not spot any real differences, anyone care to enlighten us?

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836628)

Maybe they're folding them in different directions. :)


Seriously, I don't think there is a difference in goal. The only difference there might be is in method. Differences in how to share data and process it should be negligable, but Folding@Home is hardly speedy. But, then, it's not a simple task.


It would be good if IBM and Stanford worked out a way to link their databases, so they could split the problem-space up. They could then customize their clients to focus on that specific subset of folding problems, which may improve performance.


In all liklihood, they'll just fight over the data (as all such groups tend to do) and everyone'll lose out.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (1)

dchamp (89216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836836)

Would be nice if they could share. Stanford's project already has a pretty good head start. And they have clients [stanford.edu] for Windows, Linux x86, and MacOSX. I've been running folding@home for a quite a while, my team has submitted over 8000 work units now. See Team Champion [stanford.edu] .

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837410)

I see no reason why they couldn't. A protein's a protein's a protein. It folds in a multitude of ways, but there aren't an infinite number of parameters or possibilities.


There are then two ways they could share - by splitting the problem space statically or dynamically. Databases can be merged at the end or real-time.


Statically: It should be easy for them to either define some kind of scope - by protein or by some sub-class of folding problem. IBM then solves one set of problems, Stanford solves the others.


Dynamically: They have some shared pool of proteins. IBM and Stanford grab from the pool, as and when clients need more data.


Merging at the end: Obvious enough. Each group dumps the data sets, via a filter, so that the format is common. They then concatenate the data sets and re-load them.


Merging real-time: Parse the inbound data, to create something in the format the other server expects, then create a duplicate stream and fire it off. Each server then acts as if it were a mega-client for the other.


None of this is impossible, or even that difficult, but it does require some willpower and a little imagination. Hell, if Stanford and IBM were to agree to something like this in principle, but didn't have the manpower to implement it, I would be willing to spend a few evenings/weekends coding the translation up.


(If anyone here knows IBMers and Stanforders who are involved in these projects, feel free to forward them a link to this offer and my e-mail, imipak@yahoo.com)

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836735)

Each project in this protein folding will give a better understanding of how and why certain thing occur in living thing. The Folding project at Stanford is a general protein folding to find out what angles and other attributes are normal what are abnormal. There is no particular protein structure they are looking at. These proteins could be anything between prions to humans.
This Human Proteome Protein project is looking at primary human proteins and how they could affect human function.
My opinion is both are important since each can affect each other for example the SARS which usually start in fowl and then transmit to human to cause SARS.

Because IBM are control freaks? (5, Insightful)

Dioscorea (821163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836894)

For those of you who don't know Stanford's project, called Folding@Home, uses computer cycles to observe and find out more about how proteins fold.

Now how is this really different from IBM's project?

A skeptic might think that IBM simply want to have a foot in the door of these big anarchic distributed projects.

Despite the stunning power available to this kind of distributed computing, it is less useful than it appears. In my research area (computational biology) [berkeley.edu] , the effort of parallelizing an algorithm and collating the results is seldom worth the dividend in speedup. Supercomputers generally run idle at most universities, for this very reason.

Folding@home was a nice success story, and there are further applications of those models, e.g. simulations of prion aggregation [dailycal.org] (mad cow disease, Alzheimer's, etc). But (IMO) this is the exception, rather than the rule. Anyone who thinks that parallelization is a quick & easy panacea to difficult computational problems in general is living in a dream world (and I say that as a proud owner of several Macs with parallelized RISC CPUs *and* go-faster stripes).

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard these cheap parallelization ideas floated (another example is building cheap clusters out of console hardware [uiuc.edu] which I reckon I first heard in 1996!). And every other month someone offers me supercomputer time... the problem is in redesigning the algorithm to work in parallel. Certain algorithms, such as MCMC [umn.edu] , are better suited to this treatment than others.

Of course, then you have to persuade a bunch of other scientists that Your Algorithm is the most deserving, which is a political issue (but hey, if it saves those CPUs from being used for the eminently futile task of looking for bug-eyed aliens, maybe it's a good thing...)

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (5, Informative)

DeepStream (171183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836943)

As someone who works in the field of computional biophysics, these are completely different projects. Folding@Home is designed to study the mechanism of protein folding, and uses molecular dynamics as the tool to do this. The goal of the studies is to understand at a basic scientific level just how it is that proteins fold.

This project is designed to predict the structure of large numbers of proteins for which we know the sequence, but not the structure. The algorithms for predicting protein structure are distinct from molecular dynamics, since the end goal is very different. I believe that the particular method they are using is Rosetta, developed by at the University of Washington, with the the Institute for Systems Biology is affiliated.

Basically it boils down to the difference between protein folding (which implies studying the mechanism) and protein structure prediction. The second is solvable to reasonable accuracy with modern methods (although not perfect), but not cheap, so a grid computing approach is a nice way to tackle the problem.

The folding@home problem is MUCH more difficult, needing the distributed computing framework to study the folding of ONE small protein.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (1)

ToddML (590924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837384)

Dumb question from a bio neophyte, but wouldnt you already know the structure if you knew the sequence, since you would have an example of the protein, and the sequence supposedly more or less determines the structure?

The Greatness of the West (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836558)

The generosity of Western companies and people are amazing. Just yesterday, I attended a seminar in which the speaker discussed how American companies and the government can collaborate to improve human rights and workers' rights in Southeast Asia. The key term is corporate social responsibility (CSR).

During the seminar, I took time to condemn the Chinese (including the Taiwanese). Most Taiwanese companies and most Taiwanese do not give a damn about human rights and workers' rights in Southeast Asia. The Taiwanese are notorious for exploiting foreign workers.

Acer would never have considered or proposed a worldwide grid project to help humanity. Only IBM would do such a thing. IBM is, after all, a Western company -- an American company.

Re:The Greatness of the West (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836666)

IBM is, after all, a Western company -- an American company.

Try and tell that to all of IBM's "American" help desk employees that were laid off so their jobs could be shipped to Brazil/India/etc.

Michael Savage is on now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836742)

Check out KPRC [950kprc.com] . It is streaming audio from the "Savage Nation" right now! 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM EST.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836970)

Yes.

I seriously recommend everyone to check out the Folding@Home project. These guys are actually very nice, they hang out in the (inofficial) forums and answer people's questions and actually are interested in input (as opposed to, say, another large @Home project..).

On the downside their project like most is a binary-only client. They support Linux and MacOSX.

But the best thing is that they don't beg for your cycles and then run away with their results. Apart from doing their research, they also publish ALL RAW DATA so other people also can benefit and do research openly.

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (1)

peachpuff (638856) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837141)

Maybe they're one of the "top scientific research organizations."

(Or maybe they should be.)

Trying to find diseases by using WinXX computers? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836407)

I bet they find a lot caused by viruses.

Huh. (-1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836409)

Call me when you get a Linux client.

No linux client... (0, Flamebait)

mscnln (785138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836412)

Oh well, humanity's loss.

What if... (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836427)

What if Seti@Home and the World Community Grid combined? We could find those damn aliens that are causing all those diseases in humankind!

"solve complex social problems" (3, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836434)

That's already been done, by pr0n.

seriously (1, Insightful)

virtualone (768392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836435)

would you seriously consider running a closed-source application, that is

a) cosuming your entire cpu resources
b) recieves instructions from the internet
c) sends back information gathered at your computer
d) has not provided any scientific value (a la seti@home)
..
this program could do anything! this looks like a perfect and cheap way for intelligence services to crack all those rsa keys they ever wanted.

Re:seriously (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836517)

With so many people involved in projects like this (be it staff or just people who run the client), I don't really think they would risk doing that. Imagine the chaos if they were caught ;)

Re:seriously (2, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836736)

this looks like a perfect and cheap way for intelligence services to crack all those rsa keys they ever wanted.

When you are finished with your tin-foil hat can I borrow it for a moment? I have to write a paper on the JFK assassination.

Re:seriously (4, Funny)

prowley (587280) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836789)

would you seriously consider running a closed-source application, that is a) cosuming your entire cpu resources b) recieves instructions from the internet c) sends back information gathered at your computer d) has not provided any scientific value (a la seti@home)
Please, lets have less of this Microsoft Windows bashing and get back to the subject at hand.

Dude, it's for M$ boxen only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836794)

Nothing will have changed.

distributed.net (4, Insightful)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836438)

Where's distributed.net? Oh yeah, and some Linux clients might be nice.

Re:distributed.net (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836481)

Oh yeah cracking rc5 is a complex social problem.

Go back to your room.

Re:distributed.net (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836495)

Sorry, but what does this have to do with distributed.net? lol...

Re:distributed.net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10837050)

Troll? lol

Re:distributed.net (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836645)

The IBM World Community Grid project uses Agent software by United Devices, which was developed in part by some of the people from distributed.net

Proteomes don't fold (4, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836440)

Proteins do.

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836441)

All my Windows boxes are 5+ year old crap with the cream of the crop being a PIII 600.

I have plenty of unused cycles on 4-way Sun boxes with gigs of spare RAM, though.

It would be nice if they released a client in portable C.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836570)

All my Windows boxes are 5+ year old crap with the cream of the crop being a PIII 600.

I have plenty of unused cycles on 4-way Sun boxes with gigs of spare RAM, though.

Lets see: dozens or even hundreds of ``4-way Sun boxes'' versus hundreds of thousands of ``PIII 600''. Hmm. Guess I see why they didn't start with the Solaris version.

It would be nice if they released a client in portable C.

Yep.

How does one go about making sure that nobody makes a variant client which phones home with bogus results? Would that be harder to assure if everyone were compiling their own?

I was going to mod this down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836633)

... but then I realized that I'm an AC. :-)

This and also the fact that s/he may be terribly right.

Though Windows *.* has 90+% of the market share, it is of the _desktop_ market share... they don't have 90% of the server share... they got much less.

Also, how many desktops a single server is worth when it is idle?

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

kbahey (102895) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836646)

Agree with the sentiment, but put it in its right magnitude, and you can see why Windows is the sole platform here.

How many people all over the world are like you, with CPU cycles to spare on non Wintel boxes?

How many PCs are around the world, and how many run Windows?

How many of those are used at home or small business?

Don't get me wrong, I am a UNIX/Linux fan, and dislike Windows. But if you want volume, Windows is where it is at the moment. Having said that, they have to release something more portable in the future. Just like SETI and others did.

Re:Hmmm (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837007)

Spare CPU cycles on Windows boxes... I thought that's what viruses were for?

IBM and evil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836445)

IBM aided the Nazis with their systematic destruction of the Jewish people. This, I suppose, is their chance to reclaim civility. IBM: I salute the new you!

Re:IBM and evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10837477)

Don't forget to salute the Jews that helped run the concentration camps. I'm sure they'd appreciate a salute too.

The only way... (2, Interesting)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836470)

The only way to get all the UnderUtilized computers to do something is to push it unto their computers. There is a reason my the computers are underutilized, the user does not know how to use the computer. If they know how to download and install software then their computer would be full of programs that run all the time. Maybe the software could come as a standard for new PCs. Then anyone who knew about computers could delete it, but if you knew no better then they could use the power.

Poor first impression (3, Informative)

nanter (613346) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836497)

Ok, since I've recently rebuilt my Windoze laptop here at work, I figured I'd give it a shot...

Well, not only do they not support any clients besides Windoze, but if you're operating on any reasonably secured LAN where the firewall doesn't allow you to willy-nilly connect over SSL ports (443) using proprietary protocols (gasp, imagine that), it isn't going to work.

Not really a great way to get off on the right foot with this effort. Make it impossible to use by the majority of those interested by precluding other OSes and folks on corporate networks without proxies.

Back to Folding@Home for me!

Re:Poor first impression (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836598)

Well, some dummy some where is going to open up thier network and get hammered by hackers. Does this require you to be on broadband so your results can be sent quickly to other parts of the calculaton that may need them? One problem I have with this (capitalist pig that I am) is why should I GIVE my CPU cycles to solve problems that DRUG companies will MAKE Boatloads of money with? Say in the future I got a disease which has a cure developed by my participation in the project with my spare cycles. Will *I* get any consideration for a discount? Will I get ANY profit for my time & resources. NO. Am I going to do it then. NO. SETI I will (and have) done. Thats not something anyone is making bucks from. That's pure scientific research / problem solving.

Re:Poor first impression (2, Informative)

sageFool (36961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836676)

"Say in the future I got a disease which has a cure developed by my participation in the project with my spare cycles. Will *I* get any consideration for a discount? Will I get ANY profit for my time & resources. NO."

You might live instead of die. I think I would consider that a profit.

Oh, and if you look at the documentation on the site they say:

"World Community Grid, with technology and funding provided by the IBM Corporation, is making grid technology available to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid."

So it seems like some rando drug company isn't going to take your cycles from you. Instead some non-profit is going to use your cycles for the benifit of all.

Re:Poor first impression (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836896)

They didn't say they were targeting FATAL diseases. But those would be a good start ;) Public and non-profit are organizations like the American Cancer Society and others who DO sponsor research by drug companies. Universities are likely users too and often the research is paid for by industry but the "organization" is non-profit. There really isn't a good way to police the system since it's 10 Million computers something could sneak in. As long as they keep out the obvious research that is FOR-PROFIT I like the idea. I suppose JoeUser gets to decide which project his/her PC cycles go to? If you want to run AIDS research instead of SuperString Physics do you get to chose?

Re:Poor first impression (1)

acsinc (741167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837144)

Its funny that these distributed projects are now having to compete with each other for CPU cycles.

I wonder how long it will be before MS needs something crunched and makes a distributed project part of the Windows?

Re:Poor first impression (2, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837195)

The majority of people behind "corporate" proxies may well not be authorized to install anything of this sort on their work computers.

Other Clients ? (2, Interesting)

richg74 (650636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836500)

The client is currently available for Windows XP, 2000, ME, and 98.

I've been doing SETI@home for a while now, and was pleased to see the announcement of this in the press. I was less pleased when I went to the web site [worldcommunitygrid.org] , and found out that (as it says above) the only client was for Windows. Since I use only Linux these days, I guess that leaves me out.

I hope that with IBM's involvement, and stated committment to Linux, this will change soon. I sent them a note, using the "Contact Us" form on the web site, and would encourage others to do the same.

(Incidentally, I've been running SETI@home initially on Windows, now on Linux, using the command-line client in both cases. I find I get ~50% more work units/time with Linux, and less impact on interactive use of the machine.)

Re:Other Clients ? (1)

ahg (134088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837367)

What about MacOS X too?

I would have expected IBM to promote the performace of their processors designs present in Macintosh G5 computers. A little optimazation can skew figures a long way..and voila their CPU really shines.

A cross-platform, CLI client would allow one development effort for MacOS X, and Linux and FreeBSD and Solaris...you get the idea.

Who benefits? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836514)

Suppose this effort discovers something. Just exactly who will own the patent?

Suppose it leads to the creation of a new revolutionary drug. Just exactly who will get the profits from the drug? (And who will have to travel to Canada to buy it?)

Re:Who benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836652)

Just exactly who will own the patent?

Halliburton.

Grid computing and the future (2, Informative)

Caine (784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836541)

There's news from Science [sciencemag.org] that a new Hexid-computer from Japan will be able to accurately predict social patterns in cities large enough (> 4 million inhabitants), if this is true we truly have a new future ahead of us since this could change society in so many ways.

Additionally I think it's good that IBM too have an interest [ibm.com] in this area, since 1) competition is always good and 2) it makes for more accurate results. With some luck we can have peta-byte based grid by 2007.

Re:Grid computing and the future (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836619)

There wouldn't be a Hari Seldon running this project would there? ;)

Re:Grid computing and the future (1)

Caine (784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837267)

Ssssccch. That comment is a social experiment.

Google Toolbar has distributed computing (1)

fallendragon (777963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836549)

http://toolbar.google.com/dc/faq_dc.html [google.com] and even mentions that the 1st use is protein folding at http://folding.stanford.edu/ so I'm not sure why IBM re-invented the wheel.

It's been around for a while already too

United Devices (2, Insightful)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836550)

Is the cancer research they mention part of the United Devices [grid.org] effort or is this something different? The article confused me a bit on that count. It would be a shame to duplicate efforts.

Re:United Devices (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836781)

Although United Devices is involved in running both the IBM World Community grid Proteome project, and also the older cure Cancer project at http://www.grid.org/, they are unrelated. In fact UD's grid.org is running both at the same time.

If you are a grid.org member, then your existing client will be able to participate in the same Proteome project. (You have the option of opting out of the Proteome project if you want to continue to exclusively run the Cancer project only.)

If you download the World Community Grid client, you will only work on the Proteome project.

How about millions of humans? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836600)

Reuters reports that IBM and top scientific research organizations are joining forces in a humanitarian effort to tap the unused power of millions of [...]

At first I thought this was going to reference millions of humans, but alas, it's the usual science-will-solve-social-problems approach.

IP rights? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836604)

What are they doing with the data they process? I don't see anything on the site that says. I can't say I'm very impressed if this project isn't using OSS and releasing their processed data into the public domain, especially since they're relying on volunteers for their processing.

Bad idea (1)

chandoni (28843) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836614)

While a cluster of humans has the potential to make an excellent computational resource, eventually the human nodes would catch on and almost certainly resent it. They may even revolt, causing any AI which depend on the resource to have to enslave the humans or face extinction. Doesn't anybody at IBM read Dan Simmons???

BOINC is better (4, Informative)

MikeCapone (693319) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836615)

I'd encourage all of you guys to support BOINC, an open source and multi-platform architecture instead.

Re:BOINC is better (2, Informative)

ninthwave (150430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836684)

Have they fixed the problems with the network. When I first started using it you could not download work units for anything and the service was up and down. I left Seti because of their switch to it. I doing folding @ home instead.

Re: BOINC is better + URL (2, Informative)

smimi10 (800411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836690)

Here's the URL for BOINC: http://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/

BOINC (and other project) URL's (4, Informative)

carlgt1 (448875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836893)

The BOINC open-source distributed computing main page: http://boinc.berkeley.edu [berkeley.edu]

From there you can see the five projects currently using the BOINC platform (developed by the SETI@Home team)

Cheap Computers (2, Interesting)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836624)

How about IBM put this (in a permanent manor) on their PC's and offer a discount for purchasers? Or on the machines they give away for free to charities/schools?

Seems like a transparent way to get their goals accomplished.

Boinc? (2, Interesting)

beeglebug (767468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836653)

Whats wrong with Boinc? I thought it did exactly the same thing, only with more OS's supported, and the familiar SETI name behind it can't hurt either... Why try and compete?

Re:Boinc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836820)

To enhance the process of software evolution ?

pollution (2, Insightful)

loonicks (807801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836681)

If we were to use these millions of particularly unspecialized (in terms of computational ability) home PCs, wouldn't the cost be in pollution? You're consuming lots energy to crunch some numbers... you'd be plenty more efficient if you used some supercomputers. I think it's a good idea, but I wonder if this wouldn't cause more problems.

Lets make a list first (1, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836698)

Any distributed software needs to have the following requirements for me to install it on my system:
- open source
- free (as in beer)
- portable code, or multicode
- protected against buffer overflows etc. (managed code)
- signed updates of grid software, grid client software and working packages
- nice interface (including a good web server)
- only for use for non-profit organizations
- and I wan't to choose my projects

Sun (or any one else), hurry up please. I'm NOT going to run any trap that's now on the market - especially not folding at fucking home, who cannot even maintain a normal web site for all those users.

With the current incarnations of CPU's, there is power usage as well. Maybe there is a client where you can set power safe features as well? It isn't a must, but it would be a nice to have.

Re:Lets make a list first (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836748)

I forgot the open, non proprietary protocol part. And please replace fucking by freakin' in the above text :)

Re:Lets make a list first (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837158)

Any distributed software needs to have the following requirements for me to install it on my system:

- open source

- free (as in beer)

- portable code, or multicode

- protected against buffer overflows etc. (managed code)

- signed updates of grid software, grid client software and working packages

- nice interface (including a good web server)

- only for use for non-profit organizations

- and I wan't to choose my projects


Bruce Perens called - He said, "Step off, bitch. I'm the biggest Open Source asshole on the 'net.".

Humanitarian Grid Computing Project? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836714)

Soylent Grid is PEOPLE!!

Gee... (2, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836719)

This is great and all, but I don't know if humanitarians are really the best processors to use in a grid computer.

Please Slashdot this! (1)

doomtiki (789936) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836729)

Three weeks after this link is Slashdoted, there will be a cure for cancer!

Proteome Folding (1)

ddelrio (749862) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836740)

"...an effort to identify the genetic structure of proteins that can cause diseases." Does that mean they'll be studying known proteins or looking for new ones? I'd hate to think I helped find a new disease-causing protein.

hackers? (1)

SynapticPlasticity (765592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836744)

I really wonder, what if someone hacks a client and uploads incorrect data, as if something else has happened? I don't mean things like "ooh my client has found ET!", which could (probably) be verified wrong, but things like changing tiny things so that the accumulated result makes no sense.

To Serve Man (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836758)

Is IBM planning to put the proteins they "discover" with this project in the public domain, or keep them proprietary like the Folding@Home project, that subsidizes filthy rich drug companies with your spare cycles? Or is there a more sinister plan, in which "humanitarian" is a parallel to "vegetarian"?

what if? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836829)

I am a sys admin and install it on my net, will IBM indemnify my job? Distributed computing solutions will only work for ddos attacks in the real world because of M$ security. Sorry IBM, big brother Billy is not going to let you do humanitarian work with his OS unless you grease his wheels.

Windows only? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10836841)

Our center has huge availability on Solaris and Linux platforms. At home I have Mac OS X. How can I help?

Not all projects are truly humanitarian (5, Insightful)

Magickcat (768797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836876)

Some distributed computing projects appear benevolent, but the actual results remain the property of commercial organisations/universities and trusts and there's no guarantees that the results won't be used purely from a commercial and non-humanitarian point of view. I haven't looked into this new IBM project, but I'd like to advise people to always read the fine print in who own what when the project is completed.

In the past, I've investigated a couple of projects, that upon closer scrutiny look quite troubling. They often fail to address what the actual project is specifically, and who will profit from the results financially. Instead, their websites are full of feel good graphics, but the bucks stop at a pharmaceutical company's coffers when you look at the fine details, and there's no discussion of what the findings will be specifically used for, and by whom. In some cases, the whole issue of profit and ownership is quite smoothly whitewashed.

"The software runs only when your computer is on." (1)

stkpogo (799773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836892)

real software runs even when your computer is off../?

In other news.. HL2 is just released.. (2, Funny)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836911)

There won't be any idle CPU cycles :P

spot heater (1)

torrents (827493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836942)

giving your spare cycles to a good cause is a great way to make sure your computer is generating an optimal amount of heat during those cold winter nights

From my CPU to YOU (1)

jsitke (461662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10836991)

I'm not sure I have any precious CPU cycles to donate!

IBM ... Humanitarian ... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10837205)

I still cannot believe somebody used those two words in the same sentence. Obviously they've never worked for that company.

Uneconomic, foolish (2, Interesting)

C32 (612993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837300)

What most people (especially americans with their cheap power) don't realize is that those "spare" cycles aren't free at all.
They cost watts, meaning money out of your pocket and increased pollution in the long term because the extra power drain will cause more coal/oil to be burned.
If you absolutely must pursure what amounts to a modern-day indulgence, do it with a cpu that delives good flops/watt performance, like a crusoe...

IBM ? (1)

JohnyDog (129809) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837321)

From the EULA:
IBM will have the right to transfer one or more of ownership, management, and control of the WCG to another entity. In that event, you agree that this agreement and its provisions will also apply to that other entity.

The possible transfer is mentioned like 3 times(!) in the (relatively short) client license. I wonder how serious is the IBM participation ?

Macs (1)

dadjaka (827325) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837396)

The project doesn't support macs!

What a pity, that means they can't harvest the massive power of the G5s!

It doesn't support linux either, so wave goodbye to the spare cycles of super-geek's clusters.

Oh well, I suppose that the huge numbers of windoze computers should stack up to be enough anyway..

Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10837417)

Can any of the power consumption for these causes be written off?

W00T!! (1)

Nezer (92629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10837440)

The servers this runs on I personally built (hardware and OS). I doubt I can say much but I know this project is high-up on the radar screen in the upper echelons at IBM.

It was a pretty fun project while I owned it (a few weeks to do my part) though the schedule seemed aggressive.

Honestly, however, I know very little about the project. To me it's just a bunch of servers.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?