distributed beauty
March 2, 2010 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Distributed Computing... Shiny distributed computing. Help me pick a project to contribute spare CPU/GPU cycles that has a beautiful visual element.

I have decent amount of computing power in my home, and I'd like to sign up for a distributed computing project and lend my spare cycles to the effort - but in return I want eye candy. Pretty visuals. I'm not really interested in SETI, but I'm open to pretty much any other project.

I've browsed lists and wiki pages, but it seems like the only way to get a true idea of what the visualizations for a certain program are like is to install it and have a go - and I'm not sure I want to install and uninstall that many clients.

Also, everything in the house can boot to Windows XP or 7, but may also be running Linux or OS X at any given moment. Some of the computers have some pretty beefy video cards as well, in case GPU support is available.

Help me find the prettiest!
posted by terpia to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Electric Sheep
posted by phrontist at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Protein folding is purdy: Folding@home
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2010

2nding Sheep. Absolutely stunning, almost hypnotic graphics.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2010

Electric sheep is pretty, but doesn't really accomplish anything of import (other than making more pretty pictures).

I'll suggest running one of the sciency projects listed on BOINC instead. Some of them are undoubtedly attractive and cool looking, and you won't be just burning power for no reason.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2010

Nthing BOINC. You can also cycle through the many projects it offers, until you find one you like... all with one client / install, and it supports multiple platforms.

Electric Sheep IS pretty, though.
posted by GJSchaller at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2010

Distributed Cribbage
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:41 PM on March 2, 2010

Response by poster: I was unaware that I could install BOIN once and then try out all of the different programs that use it, thanks!

As for Electric sheep - I have two issues.
I’d like to contribute to a program that does a little more than create pretty pictures, I know I want eye candy, but I want it to b the gravy – not the point. Also, I’ve tried Electric Sheep several times in the past, and maybe I’ve configured it wrong, but the results I end up with seem like low-framerate, low-resolution versions of a Winamp visualizer. I don’t seem to see high-framerate high-resolution pretty stuff that people talk about – And the PC I’ve tried it on has a Q6600 quad core processor and dual Nvidia 8800 GT cards in SLI (state of the art three years ago!).

I’ve also tried Folding@home and was unimpressed by the visuals.
Distributed Cribbage sounds hilariously awesome, but the visuals available on the page aren't terribly inspiring.

I’m trying not to be a diva about this – but I want pretty screen!
posted by terpia at 12:56 PM on March 2, 2010

3rding Sheep
posted by Brainy at 10:03 PM on March 2, 2010

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