I was discussing the pros and cons of building your own PC with Andrew, the Project Engineer for Team Bravo. On one of our many tangents, I questioned the value of spending hundreds of dollars more on a particular motherboard just to get more speed. After all, the computer is going to sit idle most of the time so the extra money just seems like a waste. He was quick to correct me.
Andrew explained that there’s a growing group of dedicated gamers that put their high-powered gaming computers to work to help save lives. When Andrew isn’t slaying mythical creatures or fighting enemies on a battlefield, he’s donating the processing power of his gaming computer to research projects around the world.
In order to reduce the time it takes to process large amounts of raw data and complex computations, scientists and researchers have turned to a distributed computing model in which processes are broken into components and distributed to many networked, loosely-coupled computers, acting together to perform large tasks. Once complete, the results are sent back to the central server.
These networked computers are knocking out more combined research then the fastest computer in the world.
There are dozens of Volunteer Computing Projects around the world ranging from Space Exploration to Cancer Research making it easy to find something you are passionate about to support. When Andrew isn’t gaming, he’s doing his part to come up with a cure for cancer. Who knew? The gamers have earned my gratitude.