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Past Distributed Computing Projects

Many of the links on this page may no longer work. They are kept here for historical purposes.

Project InformationCategoryCompletion DateProject DurationTotal Number of Participants / Computers
  United Devices Anthrax project. More information about this project will be posted soon.
Total CPU Time (y:d:h:m:s)6,989:164:06:35:38
Results Returned2,909,726
Life Sciences
  United Devices Web Performance Testing project. More information about this project will be posted soon. Internet
  Genetic Research with HMMER. More information about this project will be posted soon. Life Sciences
the smallest remaining Sierpinski problem candidate k=4847 project searched for prime numbers of the form 4847.2n+1 for n > 1,000,000 (n <= 1,000,000 had already been checked). The project was coordinated by Payam Samidoost, an active researcher of Fermat numbers. It used George Woltman's PRP software. The project was merged with the Seventeen or Bust project in November, 2002. Mathematics November, 2002 4 months 9/unknown
The ECCp-109 Challenge was a distributed effort to solve Certicom's ECCp-109 challenge and set "a new world record in characteristic p elliptic curve discrete log computation." The project won Certicom's $10,000 (US) prize: each of the two people who found the winning curve received $1,000 (US) and the remaining $8,000 (US) was given to the Free Software Foundation.

After 68,228,567 total distinguished points were found, the solution was discovered to be k=281183840311601949668207954530684. See more information about the solution.

Join a discussion group about this project.

Cryptography October 15, 2002 6 months 10,308/unknown
The dual Sierpinski problem search tried to find a prime in each sequence of integers of the form k + 2n (fixed k) for which no prime had yet been found. The project was coordinated by Payam Samidoost, an active researcher of Fermat numbers. The project used George Woltman's PRP software (available for Windows and Linux). Mathematics October, 2002 unknown unknown/unknown
Care2's Race for the Pandas had a free button for people to click to save 0.3 acres (2.2 square meters) of endangered panda habitat per click. The project generated 4,185,000 donations, which saved about 1.2 million acres (about 486,000 hectares) of habitat in the Wanglang Nature Reserve in China. Charity July 22, 2002 458 days over 600,000/unknown
Give Water, sponsored by Thames Water, gives safe drinking water to needy people around the world. The project had a free donation button that it asked to be clicked 4 million times. After that goal was reached, the project donated £200,000 to Water Aid, enough money to provide safe drinking water for 13,000 people. Note that the original goal of the project was to donate £50,000 to help 4,600 people. Charity June 26, 2002 6 months unknown/unknown
DECRYPTHON Décrypthon, hosted by the French organization Téléthon 2001, decrypted proteomes to fight against neuromuscular and other diseases. It compared and classified about 550,000 proteins, and made the results available in a free, public database on September 16, 2002. The database website is available in French and English. The project began in March, 2002.

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

Life Sciences May 2, 2002 2 months 75,000/unknown
The pi(x) Table Project constructed a very large table of values of pi(x) for large values of x. The table would allow people to study the behavior of the pi(x) function in large ranges, a study which had never before been possible. The project also looked for the first known change of sign of the function pi(x)-Li(x). The first phase of the project computed pi(x) for 1.e16 < x < 1.e17. The last phase computed pi(x) for 1.e17 < x < 1.e18. Mathematics May, 2002 1 month unknown/unknown
The pi(x) project calculated pi(x), for very large values of x, up to x=4*1022. It began, but did not end, calculations for for x=1023. Mathematics April 15, 2002 17 months unknown/unknown
Muon logo Stephen Brooks' Distributed Particle Accelerator Design project designed "a channel of magnets to produce a particle beam of muons as efficiently as possible from a source of pions spreading in almost all directions. The pions decay into muons and change direction as they move through the apparatus, making this a particularly challenging problem." Before the project, the highest efficiency was 2.9%: the project achieved an efficiency of almost 7.1%. Version 3 of the client application used a genetic algorithm to improve its design and to learn from previous records in the results file, so it found more efficient designs even faster. Science March 1, 2002 7 months 148/unknown (7.066% best muon transfer rate for 6,373,866,047 total particles simulated)
qoopy logo qoopy uses a single infrastructure to support many kinds of client applications (similar to the Parabon Computation project. The site is hosted by the University of Dortmund in Germany and is written in German, but an English version is also available.

qoopy's first project, EvoChess, evolved chess-playing programs. Each user's client generated some programs. The more successful programs survives and combines with other users' chess programs to speed up the evolutionary process. Users could play against the evolved chess programs and see information about the best evolved programs in the stats pages. The last version of the project client only allowed programs which looked ahead 5-10 moves to survive. In the end, "the first evolution converged quite fast. This was due to the fact that the individuals faced an immovable enemy (the minimax algorithm)."

A diploma thesis "Verteilte Evolution von Schachprogrammen" (Distributed Evolution of Chess Programs) based on this project and written by Roderich Groß and Keno Albrecht, is available online (it is available only in German).

Puzzles/Games February 23, 2002 6 months 1,700 users/unknown (2,228,343 games played)
grid.org grid.org ran health, science, and Internet-related research projects.

grid.org's first completed project was a bioinformatics research project for the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The project, called HMMER, used the Hidden Markov Modeling technique to compare known DNA sequences (amino acids) against the data from the Human Genome Project to find similar sequences.

grid.org's second completed project searched for potential drugs to fight the toxic properties of anthrax so that the disease can be treated in humans in its advanced stages. Any likely drug candidates from the project will be given to the U.S. government and other U.S.-friendly governments for further development into actual drugs. This project began on January 22, 2002 and the screening phase concluded successfully on February 14, 2002. From a pool of 3.57 billion molecules it found over 300,000 drug candidates.

Life Sciences February 14, 2002 4 weeks unknown/unknown (2,867,618 results)
The SaferMarkets project, which ran on the entropia platform, studied the causes of stock market volatility. The project began on April 2, 2001 and ended on January 18, 2002. According to a Business Week article, the goal of the project was to find a formula that can "predict the likelihood, degree, and duration of volatility in the Nasdaq and S&P indexes and in five currency exchanges where the U.S. dollar is half the equation," first using Bayesian statistics regarding human behavior to create a random fictional history of volatility, then fine tuning the formula against real, historical data. Eventually the project would use the formula to predict the volatility of individual equities. The project coordinators will analyze all of the data generated by the project and will publish its final results in economical journals and make the results available to the public for free "to help people improve their finances through better planning tools."

The Safer Markets URL is redirected to entropia's home page, and the SaferMarkets was taken offline immediately when the project concluded.

Financial January, 2002 9 months unknown/9,335 (970,885 tasks completed)
DataSynapse, Inc. DataSynapse built a better P2P web searcher by joining with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and Lehigh University to develop an approach called Hierarchical Distributed Dynamic Indexing (HDDI TM). Participants were entered into prize sweepstakes drawings. The project was designed only for users with broadband Internet connections and was only available for the Windows platform. Internet December 17, 2001 less than 1 year over 10,000/unknown
The Generalized Woodall Numbers project found generalized Woodall numbers using the Proth program. Mathematics November 11, 2001 unknown 11/unknown
The GOLEM@Home Project The GOLEM@Home Project designed and evolved robotic lifeforms via a screensaver application. The screensaver randomly created a population of virtual robots on users' systems and then evolved them (the rule for evolution was survival of the robots who could move the greatest distance over an infinite plain). Every week or so a few of a user's robots moved to someone else's Golem screensaver and a few of someone else's robots moved to the user's screensaver (this feature could be disabled for users worried about security). The virtual robots contained design information that could be used to build actual working robots. Science October, 2001 1 year 30,000
Folderol Folderol was a volunteer project that used a screensaver, command-line client or system client application to simulate protein folding of the data from the Human Genome Project. The project completed 36 years of simulation before the project coordinators placed it on hold indefinitely. They may restart it if and when they have time to support it again. Life Sciences September 27, 2001 less than 1 year unknown/unknown
Popular Power Popular Power searched for a more effective influenza vaccine. The company went out of business on March 17, 2001, but the founders continued the influenza vaccine project until September, 2001. The client used Java for task implementation to provide a secure "sandbox" area within which its customers could run their own code without being able to acces the rest of your system (the way a browser provides a secure area for a Java applet).

Background of the influenza vaccine modeling project.

The last unofficial Stats Page created by Mike Rosack.

Life Sciences September, 2001 14 months unknown/unknown
The NASA Clickworkers Study asked volunteers to mark and classify craters on images of Mars. The project presented images in temporary web pages. Volunteers used Java software to mark the locations and sizes of craters in the images. The pilot project concluded in June, 2001. As of December 31, 2000, 65,991 craters were marked and 17,233 craters were classified.

The project also provided some other activities for fun:

Distributed Human Project June, 2001 unknown unknown/unknown
The perceive.net cloudmakers project attempted to solve a puzzle called RUR-14 (the puzzle is described at the cloudmakers website: this puzzle is connected to the Kubrick/Spielberg movie A.I.) This project used Windows console application or Perl client to solve the puzzle using a brute-force technique, submitting each possible key to the puzzle website. It tested 0.81576% of the total number of keys before the puzzle was solved by a person independent of the project. More information about the project can be found in a Slashdot article. Games/Puzzles May 30, 2001 8 days 321/unknown
DCypher.net was designed to run multiple and different types of projects. It ran a CSC decryption contest and a project to design safer storage vessels for nuclear waste. For the gamma flux project it processed almost 100 million work units. DCypher.net was the first project to use weekly cash giveaways to encourage participation. The project's parent company, Distributed Science, went out of business on May 24, 2001. The project shut down soon afterward. Cryptography May, 2001 1 year unknown
ProcessTree Network TM
For-pay Internet distributed processing.

ProcessTree Network was the first project to offer pay for providers' spare CPU cycles. Its first (and last) paid project began the week of January 8, 2001. Selected users in certain locations with a Win32 platform and a 128 Kbit/sec or faster, permanent Internet connection could join the project. The payout was $US12.50 per month and location (that amount was divided among the systems active in each location during the month). The project's parent company, Distributed Science, went out of business on May 24, 2001 due to a lack of funding, and the project shut down on that date.
Internet May, 2001 4 months unknown
XPulsar@Home XPulsar@Home was a Monte-Carlo Java applet simulation run by the Astrophysics department at the University of Tuebingen in Germany to model the spreading of X-ray photons in X-ray pulsars.

The site is in German, but you can use a free machine translator to see reasonable translations of the site's pages.

Science March 31, 2001 12 months 8432/unknown (1.2 million CPU hours)
PiHex caluclated the quadrillionth digit of Pi (which is 0). The creator of the PiHex project will soon begin more complex projects at idlepower.net. Mathematics September 11, 2000 24 months 1246/1734 (1.2 million CPU hours)
The ECC2K-108 project solved Certicom's ECC2k-108 Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm challenge. Mathematics April 4, 2000 4 months 1300/9500
The Internet Animation '99 "was an experimental project aimed to discover how a computer 3D animation could have been done using people from all over the world and coordinating everything using only email and a web page." You can download the movie from ifilm.

This site has a Lessons Learned page and other information for people who want to start their own animation collaboration projects.

Art August, 1999 2 years unknown
Swiss Knife Software had a screen saver application which tried to solve the Eternity puzzle. Puzzles/Games stopped in July, 1999; not completed unknown not applicable
Golomb Rulers - The Search For 20 and 21!, the first Internet-based distributed project to find optimal golomb rulers (OGRs). The project found OGRs for 20, 21, 22, and 23 marks. The project tested 628 trillion nodes for the 22-mark ruler and 398 trillion nodes for the 23-mark ruler. The OGR search is continuing at distributed.net. Mathematics May, 1999 2.5 years unknown
Distributed Genetic Programming on the Internet used genetic programming in a Java applet to navigate artificial ants along the Santa Fe trail.

The website was removed in October, 2000. The project had some interesting graphics.

Puzzles/Games mid 1998 unknown unknown
The Cyberian RC5-56 Challenge used a brute force attack to try to decrypt a message encrypted with the RC5 algorithm, for a contest organized by RSA Security, Inc.. About 10,000 computers around the world participated in the effort. Source code for the project is available for download. Cryptography 1998 2 years unknown/10,000
The RSA Factoring-By-Web project was "the first large scale project that makes use of a new and faster factoring method: the Number Field Sieve (NFS). Our first goal [was] to factor a 130-digit number (known as RSA-130, part of the RSA-factoring challenge). After that we [went] for bigger numbers, with the ultimate goal to evaluate how hard it would be to break a 155-digit number." The project factored RSA-130 on April 10, 1996. Cryptography 1996 1 year unknowl/unknown