I like to do good things for the betterment of society, but like most people I don’t like going too far out of my way to do it. I recycle if a bin is nearby and I gave $20 to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful because I am a sucker for trees, but I’m not going to join the Peace Corps for two years. This is why I like the World Community Grid, which I have been a member of for many, many years. I get to help the world without really doing anything :)
The WCG is a grid computing project which uses the spare cycles of thousands of volunteers’ computers to crunch data involved in research projects. In human speak, this means that after you register and install their free software, your computer downloads a packet of information and analyzes it in the time that your computer is on but you’re not doing anything. You know, like right now, when you’re reading this blog entry. This helps scientists speed up the pace of their research about cancer, clean energy, aids research and other things. You can install the grid’s agent software on as many computers as you like. Whenever your computer is idle, it works on the project. If you enable the grid’s screensaver, you’ll also see fancy graphics of folding proteomes and other things I don’t understand.
I’ve started a group on the grid’s site called PastaQueen’s Macaroni Military. If you are interested in joining the project, think about joining my group! Donate your spare computing cycles today, but remember, they are not tax deductible :)