Distributed computing as "volunteer work"?
May 11, 2008 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever considered listing their distributed computing contributions (i.e. BOINC or Various@Home scores) as "volunteer work" on a C.V.?

I won't have to write another C.V. for a while, but it occurred to me that participation in distributed computing could certainly act as an addition to one's C.V. provided it was pertinent to one's field of interest. I'm not trying to say this is what piqued my interest in participation as I've had my cpu churning out work units since before I even cared to look for a job, but wouldn't it be a convenient payoff?

Consider the example of someone interested in a career path in artificial intelligence: setting up your computer rig(s) to contribute all of its flops to to the A.I. System BOINC program would be a worthwhile endeavour to science.

Am I wrong in thinking that this sort of "volunteer" work shows an interest and reflects one's character perhaps in terms of conscientiousness, or dedication?

The fallout of such an assumption is clearly in its passive nature where no man hours or labour is involved, and perhaps in the fact that if such a system were adopted by persons who review C.V.s it would be something entirely biased towards the upper class who can afford better hardware than the poor (and thus, produce a higher ratio of work units: time). Perhaps the solution to such a problem would be to consider all amounts equal, and take it as merely the "thought that counts"? I'm not sure...

This question may not have an answer, but I'm curious what others think!
posted by tybeet to Science & Nature (9 answers total)
posted by mzurer at 3:30 PM on May 11, 2008

Unless it actually took work (like, say, I built and maintained a cluster of 10 machines just to do BOINC), I think I'd mention it at the end of the resume under interests, if I mentioned it at all.
posted by zippy at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2008

Am I wrong in thinking that this sort of "volunteer" work shows an interest and reflects one's character perhaps in terms of conscientiousness, or dedication?

You're wrong. Putting this on your CV shows classic resume padding. You can't put the thousand bucks you gave to charity on your CV either.
posted by grouse at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2008

Thanks for the feedback, I suppose I'm just wee naive when it comes to C.V.'s.
Oh well.
posted by tybeet at 3:40 PM on May 11, 2008

Put it on your web site if you want.
posted by grouse at 3:45 PM on May 11, 2008

If you were writing a C.V. for your computer, then sure.
posted by thejoshu at 3:58 PM on May 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

If you did something that required a non-trivial amount of effort — say you assembled a cluster of PCs, or you worked with the administrators at your school/workplace to get BOINC installed on lab machines, or something of that nature — then by all means put it on there. But if you're just talking about installing and running it on your own PC(s), that's a pretty weak CV line.

Personally I'd never put anything down on a CV that's not at least a full day's worth of work, and really I'd think hard about putting down anything that's not an ongoing commitment rather than a one-shot event.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:00 PM on May 11, 2008

This is only anecdote-filter, but I have to tell it. I know a person who did put it in his CV. If you are Spanish you may have even heard about him, he is quite notorious. I kinda like him, he is an entertaining conversationalist, but he has some tendence towards hyperbole, to put it mildly.

When I met him he actually listed seti@home and folding@home (or other project, I can't quite recall) as "research". His CV had three lines that read more or less:

Berkeley University - Collaborated on online research.
Stanford University - Collaborated on online research.

He also listed in his CV the position to which he was applying. Sigh.
posted by kandinski at 11:11 PM on May 11, 2008

@kandinski: interesting anecdote, fortunately that's not the effect I was going for. ;)
posted by tybeet at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2008

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