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  • richardmitnick 8:14 pm on August 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Crunching", BOINC, , World Community Grid   

    It’s public radio and It’s Music to My Ears 

    Its Public Radio and It’s Music to My Ears (Originally posted at MusicSprings)

    But it’s the BBC , and it is a 29 minute radio piece about Citizen Science – Public Distributed Computing. Besides music and video, and way way more important to me than either, is being a “cruncher” for scientific projects at august institutions and universities around the globe. We use software provided by the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network ComputingBOINC – to produce for each project through our collective participation, each project’s very own super computer crunching teraflops of data, saving lab scientists literally years of work to reach their goals and help mankind.

    I hope that you will click on the link above for the radio piece, listen to it, and then explore BOINC and the many diverse projects using the software for the betterment of all mankind.

    The best example I have is from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, Dr David Foran’s team at the project Help Defeat Cancer, under the aegis of World Community Grid (see below) reduced tissue typing on one PC from 137 years to one day. Tell me that did not save lives!!

    image 1

    Most of the text below is taken directly from the web sites of the projects. I hope that you will listen to the radio piece and then visit the project web sites to learn more about what is going on.
    BOINC software is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

    The spinning ball is from Spinhenge@home, a project about which the scientists tell us, “…With your participation you will actively support the research of nano-magnetic molecules. In the future these molecules will be used in localised tumor chemotherapy and to develop tiny memory-modules….” This projects is at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld – Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Bielefeld, the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region, Germany.

    image 2

    Einstein@home searches for pulsars and gravitational waves. They just made the headlines (in science, anyway) with the confirmation of a newly discovered pulsar. Einstein@home is a project based un the USA. Here is what the scientists tell us, ” Einstein@Home is a program that uses your computer’s idle time to search for gravitational waves from spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational wave detector… Einstein@Home also searches for radio pulsars in binary systems, using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Einstein@Home is a World Year of Physics 2005 and an International Year of Astronomy 2009 project supported by the American Physical Society (APS) and by a number of international organizations. Einstein@Home is now carrying out a search of data from LIGO’s first science run at design sensitivity (S5). The current analysis (S5GC1) uses 8898.5 hours of data from the entire S5 run. S5GC1 is the first analysis deploying the F-statistic plus global-correlations method, which is currently the most sensitive search technology known.
    Bruce Allen, Director of Einstein@Home; Director, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Hannover; Professor of Physics, U. of Wisconsin – Milwaukee”

    So, we add cosmology to biology.

    image 3

    What does Rosetta@home do? “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… Please join us in our efforts! Rosetta@home is not for profit….” Rosetta@home is at The University of Washington, “U Dub” to the cogniscenti, under the watchful eye of David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

    The granddaddy of all projects, the “source” for BOINC is the SETI@home project.

    and now
    mover 2

    From the site, “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.

    Dr. David P. Anderson

    Dr. David P. Anderson, Director of the SETI@home Project. David is a computer scientist, with research interests in volunteer computing, distributed systems, and real-time systems. He also runs the BOINC project.

    My personal favorite project is LHC@home, a project trying to aid the scientists at CERN who are using the Large Hadron Collider in rthe hopes of finding the Higgs Bosun, the particle which would provide for mass in the sixteen particles which comprise the current “Standard Model” of the constitution of the universe.

    The Large hadron Collider

    I have been fascinated with CERN since the 1985 PBS Timothy Ferris video “Creation of the Universe”. While this video is “dated” with some of the graphics not up to today’s TV wonders, this is still a wonderful introduction to the world of Particle Physics and the wonders of the universe. This video is available from Netflix. Here is what the web site tells us about what is going on at CERN.

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

    Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons‘ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

    There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, but what’s for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator, as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe. For decades, the Standard Model of particle physics has served physicists well as a means of understanding the fundamental laws of Nature, but it does not tell the whole story. Only experimental data using the higher energies reached by the LHC can push knowledge forward, challenging those who seek confirmation of established knowledge, and those who dare to dream beyond the paradigm.

    There are many other wonderful projects to explore at the BOINC web site. I hope that you will give them a look.

    World Community Grid is treated as one project by the BOINC software. But WCG has six ongoing projects, each of which is of equal importance to any of the above described projects, or any of the others that you will find at the BOINC web site. These projects are specially vetted by IBM Corporation. They are primarily medical or biological. There are current medical projects in AIDS, Cancer, Childhood Cancer, Dengue Fever, Muscular Dystrophy, and Human Proteome Folding. There is also a Clean Energy Project. Each project has its own web site, accessible from the main WCG web page.

    I personally do not like seeing six projects treated as one project for the allotment of my resources. So, in the BOINC software, I am able to overweight WCG so that the projects as a group are fairly treated for machine time. Anyone can do this for any favorite project(s), and dr Anderson makes this clear in the radio piece.

    So, a special case is World Community Grid (WCG).

    My statistics

    • Trevor Anderies 1:45 am on April 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Richard,

      I really like your blog and would love to let you know about an upcoming release from a band of mine called Slumgum. Please email me back if you have a chance.


    • richardmitnick 7:13 am on April 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply


      Wow! People are still looking at this blog, I am amazed, it has been dormant for quite a while. All of the issues with Public Radio are pretty much settled. Public Radio has gone over to the ‘dark side” with things like “Classical 24” and “Jazz 24” , music for the lowest common denominator rented from Minnesota Public Radio. Serious music is best found now on the internet, still in streams from public Radio, but also from AccuRadio.com, Live365.com and the like.

      And this post to which you responded is not even about music.

      Please check out my more current blog, MusicSprings, at http://musicsprings.wordpress.com. I looked at your band’s web site, I will explore it more fully. If I can, I will do a post for your band at MusicSprings. Thanks for your message.

    • Gary Hayden 7:55 pm on April 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Caught another posting of yours Richard and thought i’d make mention of the fact that I am also from N.J. and recall WYNC’s great overnight music program called “While The City Sleeps” I think it was called. Yours is the only reference I could find on the internet to Stan David and I could never figure out what became of him, or anything about him. Loved hearing that guys voice in the middle of the night announcing all of those obscure pieces they played. I heard some wonderfully weird stuff, avant-garde music on that show over the years. One of the alternate hosts’ name-another guy who was pretty good as well-was named Bill Slater. For years he was on only on Stan David’s day off. I actually had some cassette tapes of the 2 of them recorded from the overnight shows. But when I moved 3 years ago for some reason, I just left them behind in the old house, which was then leveled. Maybe that was stupid but I have far less storage space in my new place…..
      Gary Hayden

      • richardmitnick 8:07 pm on April 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Gary, Thanks so much for remembering Stan David. And, remembering me. I ended this blog quite some time ago. It became obvious that serious music, classical and jazz were moving to the computer. The battle was lost to satellite radio and its great fabulous on line counterpart, Accuradio. As you probably know, WNYC purchased WQXR and stuck it on a 600 watt FM station. WGBH in Boston did the same thing. WQXR stayed livem WBGH’s outlet was mostly rental from Classical 24 at Minesota Public Radio. But, and I helped, WNYC had erected an on-line stream, WNYC2, playing only living composers. This lives on as Q2, and that is most of what I listen to. I do use Accuradio sometimes for Jazz.

  • richardmitnick 7:49 am on March 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BOINC, , WCG   

    Are you a “cruncher”? 

    Are you a “cruncher”?

    Just about the best thing that I have ever done with my computers is to join the several hundred thousand strong community of folks in what is called Public Distributed Computing.

    The largest effort in this area was started up at UC Berkeley, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). It originated in the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project. The project’s directors decided to try to harness the power millions- well, in actuality thousands- of home computers to help analyze the data collected at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. The project leader, Dave Anderson, thought to attract users by putting the process in a fansupertastic screen saver. Man, did he ever succeed with that screen saver.

    Dave Anderson

    Ultimately, the BOINC software was made available to all comers who thought that they had a worthwhile project. The project gets the use of the process software and a web site template.

    The user downloads a small piece of software from BOINC or World Community Grid (described below). Then, the user can take a look at scientific projects going on at august scientific research institutions around the globe and “attach” to some number of projects.

    If you do this, what you will be doing is lending or contributing your unused CPU cycles to basic scientific research aimed at improving and saving lives. The processes are safe and secure. We save laboratory scientists literally thousands of hours of time in their exploration. All of the knowledge gained by this work remains in the public domain, for use by all.

    The cost to the user for leaving the computer on is about the same as a 150 watt light bulb. I am running two Intel Core-2-Duo, one Intel N270 Atom hyperthreaded, and one PIII on projects for BOINC and WCG.

    My favorite project is lhc@home at CERN (The European Nuclear Energy Agency. This the LHC, or Large Hadron Collider, a humongus atom smasher. Better, a proton anti-proton smasher. What those of us attached to the project fo is allow the use of our home or work computers to run simulations of what will happen under specific conditions when protons and anti-protons are sent hurtling in opposite directions arond the 27km collider and then smashed into each other.


    It is hoped that the last piece of the puzzle, the theorized Higgs bosun, for a single explanation of how the universe works will be found at CERN in the LHC.
    BOINC logo

    The other major center of this activity is World Community Grid “powered by” IBM Corporation. WCG uses the BOINC software. Where BOINC is open to all comers and has an almost uncountable number of projects, WCG vets every project and has stringent rules of eligibility. So, WCG has only about six or seven projects, depending if one counts betas or not. BOINC sees WCG as one project, even though WCG has the above noted multiplicity of projects.

    If the user wants to “crunch” for both BOINC and WCG projects, then it is adviseable to “overweight” WCG in the BOINC manager.


    With the arrival of the “Help Fight Childhood Cancer” project at WCG, I am now crunching on I think my fifth cancer project.


    I am also crunching on projects in AIDS, Dengue Fever. MS, protein folding, cosmology, genetics, new strains of rice, pulsars, and malaria.

    I urge you to visit BOINC and WCG and give them a look, check out some projects that might interest you, look at the web sites. We could use the help. There are about one billion personal computers in the world. So, at even 200,000, that would mean that we have tapped not even one percent of the available computing power.

    Wouldn’t you like to help save a life?

    BOINC bloc

    • Spark 11:06 pm on March 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I would also encourage people to visit GridRepublic’s website. They are a nonprofit working in collaboration with BOINC to make it simple to learn about and join projects. Also it makes managing them easy by using a single log on a person can join, change preferences, and manage multiple computers all from the one site. GridRepublic pulls the whole BOINC community together into one easy to use website. Check out http://www.gridrepublic.org if your interested.

    • richardmitnick 6:35 pm on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      The spam-o-matic ensnared you for a while. I had to figure out how to un-spam your comment. Thanks for writing.


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