Internet-based Distributed Computing Projects
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Upcoming Distributed Computing Projects

XtremWeb XtremWeb is creating a distributed computing infrastructure to process many different kinds of projects. It plans to demonstrate the infrastructure with the Auger project, which will simulate "air showers," phenomena caused by cosmic rays entering Earth's atmosphere.

Version 1.2.rc7 of the Linux client was last updated on December 19, 2003.

All project software for the servers, the clients, and the website, is open-source, free software and is available for download through the website.

The XtremWeb project will also make available server and LAN administration software so that anyone can create a private or public XtremWeb-based project. The first project based on XtremWeb is a performance tool which measures performance parameters of a global computing environment. This performance data is needed before projects like Auger can be run. Auger will be the second project.

The XtremWeb project coordinators stress that the XtremWeb site is intended to support other people who wish to use the XtremWeb software for their own distributed computing projects: it is not intended to host XtremWeb-based applications itself. will be the first project to create distributed supercomputing applications. Current applications solve problems that are very easy to parallelize and which have small amounts of data to transfer between the server and the client. will solve large problems that don't easily split into smaller problems. It will require participants to have fast Internet connections (like ADSL or cable), and to have 1 gigabyte or more of free disk space.
  The GriPhyN Project will implement the first petabyte-scale computational environment for data- intensive science in the 21st century. The environment is called a Petascale Virtual Data Grid (PVDG). This project may or may not be open to public participation.
nano@home NANO@Home is in the early development stages. It is based on a proposal which outlines a project which would use distributed computing to solve problems in the field of nanotechnology, specifically to derive nanoscale equivalents of real-world parts like bolts, screws, valves, wheels, hinges, etc., contributing to a Nano-widget Library of devices from which more complex nanoscale machines could be designed.

Join a discussion forum or some mailing lists about this project.

  The PhotonStar Project will be a distributed human project to support Optical SETI. Individuals with a PC, an Internet connection, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, and a telescope will be able to attach a laser detector to their telescope and use their PC to join their telescope with thousands of others to create a giant telescope. This giant telescope will be used to detect laser pulses from a specific star system at a specific time.

See a paper about the project.

Compute Power Market  
Compute Power Market will create a computation power market based on grid computing technologies to allow customers to access computation power in the same way they access electrical power, at market-based prices. The project "seeks to address complexities involved in developing a technology infrastructure that lets the users and resource providers to operate under computational economy over the Internet." It is based on the Economy Grid Project.

More information and links about grid computing can be found at the Grid Computing Info Centre (GRID Infoware).

  A paper titled "Distributed Molecular Modeling over Very-Low-Bandwidth Computer Networks" proposes a molecular modeling or nanotechnology project designed that will work well over geographically-diverse computers and/or computers with low communication bandwidth.
  The Cure Multiple Sclerosis Web Site will search for molecules which bind with proteins that cause Multiple Sclerosis in the hopes of finding a drug to cure this disease.

Note: the project website appears to be unavailable occasionally. If you get a message saying the website does not exist or the link does not work, please wait an hour or two and try accessing the site again.

  The Worldwide Lexicon (WWL) project will use volunteer human translators to translate words and phrases between languages, with an emphasis on uncommon language pairs, and will use a Gnutella-like network of translation and dictionary computers around the world to store the translations and make them freely available to anyone. An HTTP interface to the translation network will provide software developers a communication protocol with which to incorporate WWL dictionary functionality into many different kinds of software applications and web services. The project was be officially announced at the O'Reilly & Associates emerging technologies conference in mid-May, 2002. The project's creator published an excellent overview article about it on May 10, 2002.

One of the first applications to be built from this project will be GNUTrans, a distributed translation service. The service will "crawl popular websites, news sources, etc., and divide texts into small blocks to be translated and revised by human volunteers" via Instant Messenger, using a lexicon@home client application. GNUTrans project hopes to begin a public Beta test in December, 2002.

DECRYPTHON Décrypthon, hosted by the French organization Téléthon 2002, will decrypt proteomes to fight against neuromuscular and other diseases. It should be similar to the Téléthon 2001 project which began in March, 2002.

The website is written in French, but an information page is available in English, and babelfish provides a reasonable translation of the text. More information in English may be found at AFM, Association Francaise contre les Myopathies.

  BOINC Beta Test will analyze radio telescope signals to look for "short broadband signals that could be evidence of black hole evaporation, pulsars, or life." The project runs on the BOINC platform. The project is currently in expanded Beta testing. Version 2.14 of the Astropulse software is available for Windows as of December 9, 2003, and for MacOSX as of December 12, 2003. Version 2.12 is available for Linux as of November 26, 2003. Version 2.13 is available for Solaris 7 as of December 9, 2003. XML stats are available as of March 3, 2003: 3182 results have been completed as of September 11, 2003. Support for team creation is available as of March 3, 2003.

See source code for SETI@Home (the BOINC version) and Astropulse.

Join a discussion forum about this project.

  The ISBN Database Project will "create a multilingual database of books with well-defined remote access protocols and free individual access." It should catalog books the way MusicBrainz catalogs music. The project is current in development, but you can register to receive email notification when the project website is officially launched.
OpenMind Animals The OpenMind Animals project will allow volunteers to use a simple guessing game to teach computers about animals and how to ask questions to distinguish different animals. This project is part of the OpenMind Initiative to develop "intelligent" software.
Distributed Mind The Distributed Mind Project, by will attempt to create an intelligent, artificial life form. The project is currently in the planning phase and is looking for volunteers to help develop it and later to help test it. Here is more information from the project coordinator:

The project is in a development phase. We are asking for volunteers. If you are skilled in computer application development and are willing to participate in a long term project, please write to to let us know how you would like to participate. We are also compiling a list of volunteers who are willing to run Distributed Mind applications once the project reaches a test phase.

When you write to us, please let us know if you are interested in application development, running the test applications, or both. If you are interested in application development, please let us know your skill set - as related to computer application development and project details listed below.

Project Details:

Preface: suppose someone asked you to develop artificial life. What minimal set of qualities would you endow it with - so that it had the best chance of survival? I say minimal because, as with any project, you have to start somewhere and if the design is too complex initially for you to construct, your efforts may fail.

To me, you have to give your life form three goals, ranked in priroity, to insure its survival: add/improve abilities, learn, and reproduce improved versions of itself. I'm sure you will notice these are qualities of an intelligent life form. But let us discuss the project in less abstract detail.

I envision a Distributed Mind in modules. There are ten:

  1. speech recognition, sound processing
  2. image recognition
  3. speech synthesizer, arm controller
  4. object modeler, event modeler
  5. object tracker, event tracker
  6. rule builder, procedure builder
  7. rule tester, rule/procedure generator
  8. examine details, examine synergy
  9. coordinator
  10. backup/

Join a discussion group about this project.

GPU GPU, "a Giga@lobal Processing Unit," will be a framework for distributed computing based on the Gnutella peer-to-peer network. The project hopes to use the platform "to support peaceful, open and free research through supercomputing. The CPU-time sharing system does not recognize privileges between users. Each person agrees to provide network resources as needed and in return is able to get CPU-cycles from other clients on the network system." The platform client currently allows sharing of files and some basic computations. Plug-ins will extend the capabilities of client nodes and will be optimized for users' CPU-types.

The GPU client is a graphical application with windows for file sharing, computation, and other features. Windows version 0.806 of the client is available as of November 28, 2003. It scales up to at least 20 machines. Linux version 0.115 of the client is available as of May 28, 2003. chat