August 1, 2010 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I have an absurdly powerful laptop (at least as far as my computing needs are concerned) and I'd like to donate some of its spare processing power to a grid computing initiative, like BOINC.

Problem is, I'm not a scientist/mathematician and so I have no real way of knowing which of the several dozen initiatives are most worthwhile.

Is there any way for a layman to understand what the various projects are about, and which would benefit the most from the use of my computer's processors?

Possibly relevant stats of my computer: quad-core processor @ 2.00 ghz, 1GB discrete video card (I think the video card is ATI...)

So, as I said, lots of processing power that I don't use regularly.
posted by dfriedman to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I donate processing time through World Community Grid. You can pick and choose from a number of projects they have going at any one time, and each project has a section explaining the particulars ( what they're trying to accomplish, which phase they're in, etc ).

As for the BOINC client, it's pretty customizable in terms of resource utilization and timing on your machine - you can set it up to run on a schedule, or to only use so much CPU, etc.

Of course, BOINCstats seems to be a better BOINC-wide representation of what's going on as far as projects and number of computers. You should be able to find other projects there if you'd like to dig a bit more.

Good luck!
posted by HannoverFist at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2010

You can also switch off the laptop to save energy and reduce overall pressure on energy production in your region.
posted by knz at 12:52 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Note that laptops throttle down their processors a lot during light loads to conserve energy and to reduce heat and fan noise. If you run a grid computing app at 100%, it'll probably mean the fans in your laptop will spin like mad and make a lot of noise.
posted by zsazsa at 1:52 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, I personally would never run a distributed computing client on a laptop. One of the biggest challenges with powerful laptops is keeping all that heat generating hardware, which is packed so tightly together, cool. In my experience, the fan is the first thing to fail, so running your beastie at 100% around the clock is just going to lead it to an early grave.

Having said that, I heartily endorse Hannover's recommendations.
posted by Diag at 8:20 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hm, I think you guys are probably right about not running these programs on a laptop.

I guess I will do this if I ever get a desktop again.

posted by dfriedman at 6:32 AM on August 2, 2010

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