Putting wasted PC power to work in climate fight

- A new Facebook application launched computing giant Intel lets idling computers work on a range of health and environmental research projects, including the world's largest climate forecasting project.

Progress Thru Processors, available exclusively through Facebook, offers up spare computing cycles to three projects: ClimatePrediction.net, a website research project to track and predict changes to the Earth's climate; Rosetta@home, dedicated to finding medical cures for cancer and other diseases; and Africa@home, which is focused on developing strategies to combat malaria in Africa.

"In the same spirit as Intel's Small Things Challenge, Progress Thru Processors underscores our belief that small contributions made by individuals can collectively have a far-reaching impact on our world," Deborah Conrad, Intel vice president and general manager of its Corporate Marketing Group, said in a statement.

"By simply running an application on your computer, which uses very little incremental resources, you can expand computing resources to researchers working to make the world a better place."

This type of distributed computing project focuses on using the computing power that otherwise would be wasted by computers left on at the office or home to help speed the process of performing complex calculations. Examples of other massive distributed computing projects include Folding@Home, currently the world's largest such project, which simulates complex protein folding and molecular dynamics; and SETI@Home, a project to help search vast quantities of space to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Intel's Progress Thru Processors project runs in the background when a computer is not being fully utilized, and the company designed the program to not affect performance or any other tasks.

Sign up for Progress Thru Processors at Facebook.com/ProgressThruProcessors.


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