Building distributed applications with BOINC

IDLE CYCLES

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Grid computing lets little PCs work on big problems. You can use the grid system of the famous SETI@home project to build your own grid computing solutions.

With the advent of the information society, office PCs spawned at mind boggling rates in most companies. These computers share most of their time with a common task: the idle task. Activities such as browsing the Internet or working on an office document aren’t very challenging for contemporary CPUs. If you are sitting next to your PC, and you are not currently encoding audio or videos, invoke the uptime command. The average load will surely be far below 1.0. This low level of usage indicates a poor workload on your PC, which means that your boss paid too much for it. A basic idea behind grid computing is to harness these idle CPU cycles for something useful. For instance, you could use an idle desktop computer to process biomedical signals or simulate an environmental model.

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