The U of S is a partner in World Community Grid (WCG)—a global humanitarian effort to harness unused computing power and direct it towards research designed to help address the world’s most difficult health and societal problems. Because research problems can be split into countless tiny pieces and tackled simultaneously by many machines, the time required to make significant computational progress shrinks from decades to months.
This initiative allows hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world to donate unused computing power to research. Progress on critical health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as environmental and hunger issues, has already been achieved. WCG projects include:
On this page:
Most computers have a very large amount of idle time throughout the day, even in between keystrokes. For example, your computer would be idle when:
Your idle computer time can be used to support current research projects by downloading the WCG software “agent.” The WCG agent will request a set of data, or an assignment, from World Community Grid’s servers, located at an IBM facility. When idle, your computer performs the calculations and sends the results back to the servers. In fact, your computer can do the calculations while you’re actually using it for something else.
Your computer will be “volunteered” only when it is turned on and the agent senses that it is idle. You can set the guidelines for the different types of research you want to support. Even when your own applications are running, your system can be idle about 80% of the time and this computational power can be harvested. You can track the progress of your contributions through the program itself, or the screen saver that comes with it. Your contributions are also visible on the WCG website.
So why not donate something you don’t need, use or even think about—your idle computer time—and help make the world a better place?
The University of Saskatchewan is committed to safeguarding information of a sensitive or confidential nature and as required by law. You should not install or run programs that send information off campus from your computer, if your computer is used for confidential, personal or other sensitive information. While the WCG is a reputable project, it would be prudent not to install it on any work computers that handle sensitive institutional information.^ TOP ^
Joining is easy! When you download the agent you will need to:
An icon will appear in your lower right-hand icon tray once the software is installed (your computer may require a restart). You can track the progress of your current contributions by clicking the icon and opening the software or by the screen saver that activates during longer idle periods. You can track your overall contributions by visiting the WCG website.
If you would like to join, but don’t have permissions to download new software on to your computer, ask your local IT support for assistance.
WCG is environmentally friendly: