NZ Herald: Anthony Doesburg – Idle time put to work, all in the cause of science

Anthony Doesburg of the New Zealand writes in his latest opinion piece about the the internet and some of its more useful uses.

While internet scams are one of its more infamous uses, it can also be used, collectively, as the world’s largest and most powerful computer, able to process vast amounts of information and to do so in a way which doesn’t inconvenience the owners of the any of the individual computers which make it up.  It can also help democratise science by allowing people access to accurate, scientifically-derived information to counter quack claims.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The other fundamental feature of the internet that people with a technical bent have been quietly exploiting for years is that, collectively, it is the world’s biggest computer.

“Not exactly, of course. But using open-source software BOINC, various projects are making use of the combined computing power of more than 500,000 PCs in homes and elsewhere, all connected via the internet.

“All those computers working in concert are more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in the world, an IBM monster called Roadrunner installed at the US Department of Energy.”