This cool project, Climateprediction.net, allows you to help with climate research. The site links to a program called Boinc, which allows scientists to use your spare computing power for their research projects. While the project is running, you can watch visualizations of the research as it takes place. In fact, you can help with all kinds of projects--as many as you want.

If you decide to try it, please join our team. We'll see if SMM fans can become one of the top contributors!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

How does Boinc work? Is it safe? I mean, what precautions are taken to ensure my computer isn't open to hackers?

posted on Wed, 08/11/2010 - 2:47pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

To use Boinc, you download and install a client that talks to the Boinc servers. The client downloads and processes projects on your computer. The security measures are tailored to each operating system, which they discuss on the Boinc wiki (see also here for windows machines). (Warning: The discussion is not super user-friendly.) But I would also say that running updated security software, such as anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, is a good idea. Many of these security programs are designed to respond to threats as they appear as long as the program is running.

posted on Wed, 08/11/2010 - 3:16pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

Here are some additional links about Boinc's security:
http://www.boinc-wiki.info/BOINC_FAQ:_Security
http://boinc.berkeley.edu/wiki/Usage_rules
http://boinc.berkeley.edu/dev/forum_thread.php?id=1242

I ran other Boinc projects in the past and never had security issues with them. I think that as long as you go with a well-established project, you don't need to worry.

posted on Thu, 08/12/2010 - 8:00am
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

How do you know if a project is "well-established"?

Thanks, Shana! Sounds like a neat idea. :)

posted on Thu, 08/12/2010 - 1:24pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

I think the fact that climateprediction.net has several projects going on, lots of recognizable institutions involved, published studies, and lots of volunteers donating their computing time means it's pretty safe. If you see a project with 15 volunteers on it and/or it has a strange name, no recognizable institutions involved, then you might want to avoid it. Kind of the same principle with restaurants--if there are a lot of patrons, it's probably decent.

posted on Fri, 08/13/2010 - 8:27am

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