IBM's World Community Grid, a worldwide network of PC owners helping scientists solve humanitarian challenges, has kicked off several computing projects aimed at developing techniques to produce cleaner and safer water, an increasingly scarce commodity for 1.2 billion people worldwide.
One initiative will simulate how human behaviors and ecosystem processes relate to one another in watersheds such as the Chesapeake Bay while other projects will explore advanced water filtering techniques and seek cures for a water-borne disease.
To accelerate the pace, lower the expense, and increase the precision of these projects, scientists will harness the IBM-supported World Community Grid to perform online simulations, crunch numbers, and pose hypothetical scenarios. The processing power is provided by a grid of 1.5 million PCs from 600,000 volunteers around the world. These PCs perform computations for scientists when the machines would otherwise be underutilized. Scientists also use World Community Grid - equivalent to one of the world's fastest supercomputers - to engineer cleaner energy, cure disease and produce healthier food staples.
Individuals can donate time on their computers for these and many other humanitarian projects by registering with the World Community Grid website, and installing a free software program on their personal computers running Linux, Microsoft Windows, or Mac OS. When idle or between keystrokes on a lightweight task, the PCs request data from World Community Grid's server, which runs Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) software, maintained at Berkeley University and supported by the National Science Foundation.
"I can think of few endeavors more important than making sure people across the globe have ready access to clean water," says Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation. "I would even suggest that it's a basic human right, and a hallmark of sophisticated and compassionate societies everywhere. That's why IBM is so incredibly proud to help scientists harness the resources of World Community Grid to make strides in this vital arena."
Read Lance Whitney's take on the IBM projects for cleaner water at CNET.com.
For more information on this from IBM and to watch an IBM video on computing for clean water, go here.