While the accuracy of its most ambitious
simulations is still is a work in progress, Stanford University's Folding@home
has been a visionary project in showcasing the merits of distributed,
I. LHC Powers up With New Volunteer Computing
Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire --
European Council for Nuclear Research) is teaming up with United Nations
Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the University of Geneva to create
an organization dubbed "Citizen Cyberscience
Centre", which looks to test and deploy similar projects.
The Citizen Cyberscience Centre just yesterday released [press
release] its second generation LHC@home software, whose ambitious goal is to
assist scientists with locating the legendary Higgs boson and other exotic
The client is available to download here.
Its concept is that while scientists have advanced
physics theory that tells them how they expect systems to behave, they can't
actually give a prediction of how a particular system will behave until they
put that theory into a system. With LHC@home, members of the public can
install a client on their computers, which will apply their spare computing
power towards simulating high-energy collisions between protons. The
results will then be compared with experimental data from real-world LHC runs
to narrow the search for items of interest.
The LHC stands for "Large Hadron
Collider". The massive 17 mile (27 km) underground track on the
Swiss-French border is the world's most powerful particle accelerator.
The LHC has been conducting
full experimental runs during warm months since March 30, 2010, after two years
Professor Dave Britton of the University of Glasgow, a researcher who previously
worked on the CMS LHC sensor, and currently works on the ATLAS sensor project, is a developer of cloud-based particle physics computing schemes. While not directly affiliated with the LHC@home code, he voiced enthusiasm on the effort, which is similar to his own GridPP (www.gridpp.ac.uk) distributed particle physics effort.
He remarks, "Scientists like me are trying to
answer fundamental questions about the structure and origin of the Universe.
Through the Citizen Cyberscience Centre and its volunteers around the world,
the Grid computing tools and techniques that I use everyday are available to
scientists in developing countries, giving them access to the latest computing
technology and the ability to solve the problems that they are facing, such as
providing clean water. Whether you're interested in finding the Higgs boson,
playing a part in humanitarian aid or advancing knowledge in developing
countries, this is a great project to get involved with."
II. LHC@home Can Also be Used to Protect
Forests -- and Lives
The new project will also be applied to processing
satellite data from governments and private entities to protect the environment
and human lives. These applications will also draw computing resources
from the LHC@home 2.0 client.
One plan involves tracking of natural disasters
such as floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Such a project could help aid
workers locate injured people, saving lives. It could also help people
avoid imminent natural disasters.
Another potential humanitarian application is to
use the data processing capabilities to locate clean drinking water. Many
regions of the world still
lack reliable sources of safe-to-drink water.
Additionally, the processing power can be used to
track deforestation. This will allow international governments and
environmental action organizations to assess the extent of environmental damage
and loss of biodiversity. This will allow them to better formulate plans
of action to preserve our planet's natural treasures.
Describes Francesco Pisano, Manager of
UNOSAT, "From a development and humanitarian perspective, the potential of
citizen-powered research is enormous. Participating in the Citizen Cyberscience
Centre enables us to get new insights into the cutting edge of crowdsourcing
technologies. There is no doubt that volunteers are playing an increasingly
central role in dealing with crisis response, thanks to the Internet."
III. Project is True Team Effort
While it may sound like the public is doing all
the work on these projects, they also require a great deal of effort from CERN
and its partners. Not only do they have to develop all the software, but
they also have to process the data down to a form that's digestible by the
To that end the UK's Science & Technology
Facilities Council is providing one of the world's top ten Tier 1 data centers
to serving up information to LHC@home 2.0 clients.
The reward, though, of the marriage of academia,
government institutions, and the public is in producing a distributed
supercomputer that far exceeds the capacity of even today's most
powerful stand-alone installations.
quote: If you ever want the Human species to get off this planet and out to the stars, we need to understand how things work on both scales. This understanding could lead to us figuring more important things out like in my opinion, the most important question we can answer at this time: "What is nothing?"
quote: - Nothing and everything are one in the same. To emphasize that, consider that ZERO is the only relevant number on an infinite number line - because no matter how far you go in either direction on said number line, you will always be at zero.
quote: Really, that's what you believe? I thank you sir for answering the question that we all need to know. Apparently you know it all so there is no point in talking to a brick wall of infinite yet finite mortar. Your glue is superior and our bricks are insignificant cogs to your supreme reality that is our nothing. I bow to you.
quote: Not really.
quote: How can you humanly say you know the answer to everything when you can't even explain nothing? None of us can. Thus, science exists to serve us for the near infinite future in our limited third plus one dimension.
quote: What I find amusing is you call string theory idiotic yet some of the brightest minds in the world grapple with it every day. Do you honestly believe in only what you can "see and touch?"
quote: Wait, per your schema seeing and touching are purely subjective dependent on your current scale and frame of reference. Hmm... a typing paradox you are. I suppose through causality I could argue that since you believe that time, matter, space and energy do not exist then I could argue you do not exist, ergo I am bathing in complete lunacy talking to myself. I must now resign to my own, private insanity.
quote: For someone trying to participate in a discussion of science, you throw the word "believe" around a lot. I'm waiting for you to start your fire and brimstone speech, followed by a method of salvation that involves paying you a tithe.
quote: I throw around believe because you make some statements with strong conviction as if you know factually and authoritatively that these are the answers (which go contrary to many other _real_ scientists in some cases). I'm not the one making "religious" statements here--it is you.
quote: You say you know these answers as factual, yet nobody else in the scientific community will say so?That is a belief, ergo you believe in these things. Science is based on verification of extraordinary statements with extraordinary evidence. You make strong statements yet there is yet to be strong evidence to back it up.
quote: I see conceptually what you are getting at--i.e. the Universe is only our perceptual creation yet in reality it is essentially only a bunch of atoms strewn together in a cloud that more empty than it is solid. Our brains, eyes and senses allow us to make it into something quantifiable that, without us, would simply be entropy at work.
quote: The reality is (or "our" reality as you like to call it) there are universal constants that govern our universe as we call it and these help set the laws of physics which we strive to understand and figure out--aka CERN, which will give us the information we need to manipulate our reality to our advantage in the future.
quote: These scientists try and quantify your "beliefs" and either disprove or lend credence to them. You should be thankful we have them.
quote: I'm not sure why you bother though, as you don't even exist. I'm just banging my head against a wall here--well, something that I call a wall. It probably doesn't even exist. Actually, in reality, it is just a bunch of particles with fields that do not permit my particles to pass through them. Maybe if I bang it hard enough I'll merge with the wall. If I merge, I'll become one with the soup. Then I will be the soup. If I am the soup I can become all consuming. If I am that, then I will be all knowing and then I will be your reality that is not.
quote: Yes, I should keep trying, though I know not why I would want to inherit it. It seems dark, it seems cold, it seems so... so... *echoes fill the void*
quote: Actually there are no atoms - that was just a thought exercise to help you visualize the fact that existence is mere perception.
quote: If you're thinking to yourself "absurd", then consider what they've already observed within quantum physics
quote: existence itself is manufactured by our perception so existence doesn't really exist.
quote: It's not "how I know" it is "how can everyone see these answers being displayed so plainly to them and NOT know"?
quote: I do know what I stated to be factually true. Authority is irrelevant because a fact is a fact whether you like it or not.
quote: I think the best example you gave to explain your argument is the video game but you have to see that it also creates a paradox. Anything perceived by the character would have to be created within the programming of the video game. If that is true then all perceptions are false. And if all perceptions are false, they cannot be used to validate any argument of what is real or not. ie. There would be no way for the character to use perceptions within the game to validate that they are in a game.
quote: String theory is idiotic and ridiculous...the fact that it gets serious consideration is even more troubling...I mean it was practically created backwards - where they defined the "ideal" solution and then made up a bunch of math that would lead to their solution.
quote: Actually there are no atoms - that was just a thought exercise to help you visualize the fact that existence is mere perception. There are no particles or anything if we're talking about the "universal truth", but from our perspective these things seem to exist. Entropy does not exist because there is neither order nor chaos in a void. All that "exists" (and I do not like using that word to describe this) is a singular, eternal moment where nothing and everything happens.
quote: Which, like the string theorists, we have no proof for nor any way to ever prove this true (as of now we can't ever hope to observe a string due to how small they are and how large photons are--though I have ideas as to how to get around that). If we are trapped in a singular, eternal moment where nothing and everything happens, then it is both immeasurable and instantaneous. It is eternal in our eyes as the flow of events happen so quickly that our "brains" are dialed up to process so rapidly that the events seem to take "time" but our perceived time is a microcosm of the moment.
quote: What is here this second, everything that is here as you insinuate, will be gone the next second and we will be left with nothing or everything--or maybe our universe will change state completely, say from a binary 0 to a binary 1.
quote: Or perhaps it will meet an untimely demise as it comes crashing into another dimensional barrier (a dimension to us, mind you) and drench the outer walls with this splattered concoction.
quote: All in all though, if we are in a fleeting void, then what exactly is the point at trying to solve "worldly" problems such as poverty, starvation, famine, death, war, or even seeking a cure to aging. If as you say we will never be able to leave our sandbox, then what is the point to existing at all, period. We've answered "how" here, but there is no point in answering "why."
quote: Thus, you've created the perfect paradox. A paradox that suggests that chaos is ultimately the supreme solution to our universal quandry as any attempt at maintaining order will ultimately be met with complete oblivion. There is no point in existing at all. So why care then? Why not do what we each individually desire with such an outlook?