BOINC Announces a New Project at WCG: Computing for Sustainable Water 

“The Computing for Sustainable Water (CFSW) project is one of three water-related projects selected to run on the IBM World Community Grid. This project evolved from the UVa Bay Game as a very detailed, simulation-only model of the Chesapeake Bay. Not a game, the CFSW model simulates over 34,000 spatial areas; 1,069 river and stream segments; and 4 million households over a 20-year period on a monthly basis. The model explores the potential outcomes of various practices (“Best Management Practices”) on the nutrient loads reaching and impacting Bay health.

The CFSW project launched publicly on April 17, 2012 and is available for execution on the World Community Grid…

Mission
The mission of the Computing for Sustainable Water project is to study the effects of human activity on a large watershed and gain deeper insights into what actions can lead to restoration, health and sustainability of this important water resource. The extensive computing power of World Community Grid will be used to perform millions of computer simulations to better understand the effects that result from a variety of human activity patterns in the Chesapeake Bay area. The researchers hope to be able to apply what is learned from this project across the globe to other regions which face challenges of sustainable water.

Significance
Water is the most abundant resource on Earth, yet the world faces many challenging water-related problems. Among them is the management of its freshwater resources. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean, safe water. This problem is becoming more critical in the world as the proportion of people living in dense urban environments rises. The resulting demands for water contend with increasing human activities which degrade the quality of available water. A complex set of interrelated forces makes the problem difficult to address, much less to solve effectively via coordinated policy.

Approach
The University of Virginia developed a participatory simulation model of the Chesapeake Bay, the UVa Bay Game® (www.virginia.edu/baygame), incorporating natural elements and human activity using game players representing crop farmers, land developers, watermen, and assorted regulators. The UVa Bay Game has been successful in providing a learning platform for conveying the issues of complex watershed behavior and management. But to better understand the complex natural and human dynamics at work in this complex system, a much more detailed simulation model was developed to run on World Community Grid. Each of many millions of computer simulations, using unique combinations of a wide variety of assumptions about the natural and human actions at play, will calculate the resulting effects on the watershed. Exploring these many results, the researchers expect to develop insight into how these assumptions affect the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay. With these insights, the researchers will be able to better inform policy makers and suggest how prudent actions can lead to water restoration and sustainability. The ultimate goal is to eventually apply this knowledge and the techniques learned with the Computing for Sustainable Water project to other watersheds around the world.”

BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

Visit the BOINC web page, click on Choose projects and check out some of the very worthwhile studies you will find. Then click on Download and run BOINC software/ All Versons. Download and install the current software for your 32bit or 64bit system, for Windows, Mac or Linux. When you install BOINC, it will install its screen savers on your system as a default. You can choose to run the various project screen savers or you can turn them off. Once BOINC is installed, in BOINC Manager/Tools, click on “Add project or account manager” to attach to projects. Many BOINC projects are listed there, but not all, and, maybe not the one(s) in which you are interested. You can get the proper URL for attaching to the project at the projects’ web page(s) BOINC will never interfere with any other work on your computer.

MAJOR PROJECTS RUNNING ON BOINC SOFTWARE

SETI@home The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. “SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver’s electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.”


SETI@home is the birthplace of BOINC software. Originally, it only ran in a screensaver when the computer on which it was installed was doing no other work. With the powerand memory available today, BOINC can run 24/7 without in any way interfering with other ongoing work.

seti
The famous SET@home screen saver, a beauteous thing to behold.

einstein@home The search for pulsars. “Einstein@Home uses your computer’s idle time to search for weak astrophysical signals from spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors, the Arecibo radio telescope, and the Fermi gamma-ray satellite. Einstein@Home volunteers have already discovered more than a dozen new neutron stars, and we hope to find many more in the future. Our long-term goal is to make the first direct detections of gravitational-wave emission from spinning neutron stars. Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein almost a century ago, but have never been directly detected. Such observations would open up a new window on the universe, and usher in a new era in astronomy.”

MilkyWay@Home Milkyway@Home uses the BOINC platform to harness volunteered computing resources, creating a highly accurate three dimensional model of the Milky Way galaxy using data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This project enables research in both astroinformatics and computer science.”

Leiden Classical “Join in and help to build a Desktop Computer Grid dedicated to general Classical Dynamics for any scientist or science student!”

World Community Grid (WCG) World Community Grid is a special case at BOINC. WCG is part of the social initiative of IBM Corporation and the Smarter Planet. WCG has under its umbrella currently eleven disparate projects at globally wide ranging institutions and universities. Most projects relate to biological and medical subject matter. There are also projects for Clean Water and Clean Renewable Energy. WCG projects are treated respectively and respectably on their own at this blog. Watch for news.

Rosetta@home “Rosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don’t need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn’t possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s….”

GPUGrid.net “GPUGRID.net is a distributed computing infrastructure devoted to biomedical research. Thanks to the contribution of volunteers, GPUGRID scientists can perform molecular simulations to understand the function of proteins in health and disease.” GPUGrid is a special case in that all processor work done by the volunteers is GPU processing. There is no CPU processing, which is the more common processing. Other projects (Einstein, SETI, Milky Way) also feature GPU processing, but they offer CPU processing for those not able to do work on GPU’s.

These projects are just the oldest and most prominent projects. There are many others from which you can choose.

There are currently some 300,000 users with about 480,000 computers working on BOINC projects That is in a world of over one billion computers. We sure could use your help.