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CycleCash - Distributed public (numerical) computing
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How often is your computer sitting there doing nothing and wasting cycles while still turned on? Oftentimes, if you're anything like me. And once those cycles have been wasted, they're wasted. But it doesn't have to be this way....

Projects like Seti have found certain uses for wasted cycles in a distributed system. However, there isn't a general model for distributed public computation currently.

I propose 'CycleCash', whereby you let your computer run other people code. The code would run in a hermetically sealed sandbox, so it couldn't do anything even vaguely annoyingly to your machine - e.g. just allow numerical computation. The sandbox would also let you set a thread priority for the computation, so you could still use your machine for other things. You gain cycle cash credits for the amount of computation you allow. If you want to run a computation later on, you can 'spend' your credits by getting other computers out there run your code - many computers may be involved so you could get a result quite quickly.

The disadvantage of this system is that it is more suited to numerical computations (that have compact result data) than anything else, since you need to get the result of the computation back to the originator over the network (and large files, e.g. generated images, would be annoyingly slow to send).

Can't see it happening, but the idea I like.

lardus, Feb 28 2003

Cure Cancer with Distributed computing. http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/curecancer.html
just for info... [TonyDevilUK, Oct 17 2004]

Research through distributing computing http://www.grid.org/home.htm
Grid.org is a single destination site for large-scale research projects..... [TonyDevilUK, Oct 17 2004]

Seti@home http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/
[TonyDevilUK, Oct 17 2004]

BOINC http://boinc.berkeley.edu/
[quarl, Nov 10 2004]

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       Atmospheric modelling uses supercomputers but the algorithms are massively parallel. This might work for weather forecasting/climate change prediction if enough people bought in. Payback: better weather forecasts.(That is, the forecasts for the weather would be more accurate, not that there would be predictions of more desireable weather. I just want to be clear about that).
8th of 7, Feb 28 2003

       This is largely Baked exactly as written and similarly.
Gateway leases the spare cycles of it's Gateway Country Store display models and there are plenty of proposals to do this in the home P.C. market.

       Trading CPU cycles themselves (no cash) is also Baked (and has been since the first mainframes were installed), and is returning in popularity. Futures markets in CPU cycles have been proposed, though I shudder to imagine the Commodities Exchange that would try to coordinate such a thing.
phoenix, Feb 28 2003

       I can see what lardus is talking about. While i'm happy to use my home pc for seti, I have reservations about using my business PCs/servers for a free organisation (taking into account security/electricity/bandwith etc). However, i would be happy to have my servers used in an environment where I made some money out of it. Even if its only peanuts! At least all those resources arent going to waste. + from me....
TonyDevilUK, Feb 28 2003

       Several freebie services have license agreements that allow the vendor to run software on the client PCs. While I don't know if this survived the public outcry stage, that would be providing a service for cycles, which is not very far off what you are after.
dalek, Feb 28 2003


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