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CERN is recruiting the public to help it find the Higgs boson via distributed @home simulations.  (Source: Fermilab)

The tool will also be applied to helping tracking deforestation and other threats to mankind and the environment.  (Source: Google Images)
Latest @home projects look to protect the environment, save lives, and crack physics mysteries

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, volunteer-based supercomputing.

I. LHC Powers up With New Volunteer Computing Client

CERN (Conseil 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 particles.

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 of initial technical difficulties.

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 "volunteer cloud".

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.



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RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By MrBlastman on 8/10/2011 10:03:08 AM , Rating: 2
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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

These scientists try and quantify your "beliefs" and either disprove or lend credence to them. You should be thankful we have them.

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.

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*


RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By EricMartello on 8/10/2011 9:25:53 PM , Rating: 3
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.


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. Do you think that if the scientists were on the right track they would know just a bit more than they know now? If you think about it, it is pretty sad that they still haven't grown past theories presented nearly 100 years ago...and have neither proven nor disproven them yet.

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.


The "scientific community" is full of arrogant, small-minded people who are more concerned with getting funding for their moronic projects than they are for actually advancing human understanding. During the 60s we made some major strides in technological advancement - people took pride in their work and did it because they actually wanted to achieve a result. By today's standards, those same people would be labeled as eccentric or "quacks" since they deviate so far from the status quo. Their reputations would be maligned by the scientific community and even if they were onto something, they'd be barred from testing their theories using modern equipment that the "team players" get access to.

Today it seems that the first thing on everyone's mind is how much can they elevate their social status by participating in "flavor of the month" research. As for most physicists...none of them particularly stand out. Some of them have OK TV personalities and get their own shows on cable but it is quite evident that none of them are really doing their own thing or addressing the facts staring them in the face. The bottom line is that ego is all too often the guiding element above and beyond the spirit of discovery...recall Edison vs Tesla, rinse and repeat.

Theoretical science lacks the evidence to back up any of its claims, hence all you get are complicated mathematical formulas whose purpose is to obfuscate the simple fact that they have no clue what they're doing but want to give the appearance of productivity to illicit additional grant money or funding.

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.


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.

If you're thinking to yourself "absurd", then consider what they've already observed within quantum physics - there is a probability for ANYTHING to happen. They have not found any limitation to this probability. It's not evidence, but a strong clue. The fact that there is a probability greater than zero that something could happen - no matter how absurd - it supports what I stated in the preceding paragraph.

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.


You would do better to think of ourselves and our perceived existence as characters within a complex video game. We may be able to figure out the rules and bounds that work within the "game world" and use that to manipulate the game world to a degree, but there is no chance for us to ever go beyond the sandbox that is the game world.

Remember that episode of Star Trek TNG where they did that Sherlock Holmes simulation on the holodeck, but the characters within simulation became self-aware and tried to leave the holodeck to exist within the "real" world? Well it's a lot like that. We can get to the point where we are "self aware" but we would not be able to transcend that and become gods of sorts (see what I did there).

What CERN may or may not discover is certainly an interesting conversation topic, but I maintain my original statement that as far as things go for us right now it is better to spend that effort dealing with more immediate concerns to human and planetary welfare.

quote:
These scientists try and quantify your "beliefs" and either disprove or lend credence to them. You should be thankful we have them.


It's really a mixed bag with scientists, just like it is with any profession. You have a few overachievers who are genuinely smart, followed by a mob of slackers who are able to perform the motions but unable to go beyond that and innovate.

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.


There are two sides to this coin and it's important to remember that "nothing" and "everything" are the sides of that coin. While neither of us actually exist, we do exist at this particular "frame" of perspective.

Another way to think about it is this text that you are reading. To you it appears as a wall of text that confers some kind of information that you are able to then decipher and respond to...but is there really text there just because the pixels on your monitor have elected to arrange themselves in a particular pattern? You see, it exists to you and me from our perspective while at the exact same moment it is nothing and meaningless.

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*


If you were to move your mind outside of the constraints of the sandbox we're in to see things as they really are, it may end up being a case of ignorance is bliss. Maybe some scientists have arrived at the very same conclusion as I have, but do not want to accept it or believe it.


RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By Wondering Fool on 8/11/2011 4:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
First off, let me say that I do like your argument but it is very ignorant to claim it as fact.

If you read your messages over again you will see that you are using perceived observations to validate your claim that what we perceive isn't real. Here is an example of statements that completely contradict one another:

quote:
Actually there are no atoms - that was just a thought exercise to help you visualize the fact that existence is mere perception.

-and-
quote:
If you're thinking to yourself "absurd", then consider what they've already observed within quantum physics


Here is another example:

quote:
existence itself is manufactured by our perception so existence doesn't really exist.

-and-
quote:
It's not "how I know" it is "how can everyone see these answers being displayed so plainly to them and NOT know"?


You sound like you are educated to some degree but statements like:

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.


will prevent anyone from taking you seriously.

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.


RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By EricMartello on 8/11/2011 5:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'm merely stating what I've observed to be true and I will hold it as fact unless I observe something contradictory. In a nutshell, what I am saying is that the fundamentals of what we perceive as existence are a lot simpler and less extravagant than the elaborate scientific theories would have us believe.

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.


Are you familiar with "neural network" programs? These programs can "react" and "learn" based on whatever particular inputs they are receiving, as well as output from algorithms within the same program. The recurring theme in nature as we see it, is that seemingly complex things come into existence by a set of simple rules. Fractal patterns are a good example of this...

It's not a paradox as you say, because if the characters within the game were given a liberty to "think" for themselves by means of a neural network AI, that is the ability to reprogram themselves and deviate from the original program parameters, it is possible for these characters to reach a level of awareness that transcends their perceptions - in other words they'll notice that they're contained within the computer system and may want to explore whatever is beyond.


RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By MrBlastman on 8/11/2011 10:34:12 AM , Rating: 2
Please don't get me wrong, I find your argument highly amusing from specifically a philosophical standpoint. It is highly titillating to consider and I would be adverse if I said I had never considered it myself as I have--but purely as an exercise in philosophy, not science.

However, as you said earlier:

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.


You debunk the string theorists, yet you yourself:

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.


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. 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.

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.

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."

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?

What you speak of is purely philosophy and not science. Science is measurable, testable and either provable or disprovable. What you mention is neither but certainly worthy of extended discussion. The human condition alone can benefit from such musings.

It is also a good script for a Matrix movie...


RE: Seeking the Irrelevant
By EricMartello on 8/11/2011 6:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
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.


The reason string theory fails is that it's arbitrary. They couldn't get it to work with 3, 4 or 5 "dimensions" so they kept adding them until they found a formula that gives them the desired result. This is bad science because it isn't making any observations, nor does it match with what we can observe. Now I will not exclude that there are multiple "dimensions" because as I have been saying, nothing and everything occur simultaneously and dimensions are certainly a possibility that is included under "everything"...but string theory as an explanation of the fundmentals...it is not.

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.


I don't anything comes and goes. We need to make things linear or quantifiable so we can comprehend it. Absolutes and lack of limits are not things our mind can contend with.

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.


Back to the scaling factor, where I said it is possible to scale infinitely from a perspective of an atom and smaller to that of a planet and larger...do you notice how space doesn't exist? The smaller the scale, the greater the apparent distance between "objects"...but nothing ever moves and the "volume" never changes.

That's as much as I can say definitively, but I would speculate that there is an "existence" where the being perceives an atom to be the relative size of a planet (as it is to us). If that were true, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that each atom is potentially a galaxy in itself (considering the amount of energy that is released during nuclear reactions).

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."


Let's put it this way - just because one knows the rules to a game does not make him a master of said game. My "reality" is that for now I am confined to this sandbox with others and while I'm here I'd like it to be an awesome sandbox. I think you answered your own question, but rather than saying "we can never leave our sandbox" I'd like to say "it is unlikely that we will can leave our sandbox"...and would we even want to leave?

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?


Your chaos is my order. Whose to say that there isn't a being who can look at a pile of sand and see "patterns of organized logic" where we see "chaotic randomness"?

We don't need to ask "what's the point" of existing. We have what we have, so instead of looking into the void for answers that ultimately do not matter, why not ask "how can I make the existence better for myself and those around me?" I don't see it as a paradox like you said.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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