|Internet-based Distributed Computing Projects|
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|Recently Completed Distributed Computing Projects|
|Project Information||Category||Completion Date||Project Duration||Total Number of Participants/
|Genetic TSP used a Java application that ran through a user's web browser and used genetic algorithms to solve a Traveling Salesman Problem (in a TSP, a salesman must find the shortest route in which he/she can visit each a set of cities once and return to his/her starting city). This project attempted to solve a problem of 15,122 cities of Germany. As of December, 2003, the current record-holders of this problem were Princeton University and Rice University.||Puzzles/Games||December, 2003||2 years||unknown/unknown|
|GRISK searched for K-optimal lattice rules. It completed a Delta=7 project on November 15, 2000, and a Delta=8 project on December 21, 2001. It began a Delta=11 project on December 21, 2001, and completed 22% of it when the GRISK project ended.||Mathematics||October, 2003||at least 3 years||604/unknown|
The Distributed Emirp Project
searched for Emirps, prime numbers whose digits, when
reversed, are also a prime number (for example, 13 and 31 are Emirps). The
project processed 197 blocks.
Join a discussion forum about the project.
|Mathematics||August, 2003||2 months||65/unknown|
|MD@home studied the properties of oligopeptides. Note that the site is written in Russian, but babelfish provides a reasonable English translation of it. The project simulated the thermal agitation of molecules within large proteins in order to understand how the design of a protein defines the protein's properties and behavior (and the properties and behaviors of the protein's component parts (oligopeptides). The client software simulated the thermal agitation of a molecule and calculated the special characteristics of that thermal agitation. The project processed 32,000 work units.||Life Sciences||August, 2003||9 months||1,470/unknown|
The NEO Project used the NEO-c (Network Exchange
Operation for Charity) platform to participate in various computing
challenges and projects, and would have donated any winnings to the charities
specified by its users. The project was the first to use Microsoft's .NET
architecture. The project ended unexpectedly before any results were found
for the challenges below:
The project's first challenge was the RSA 576-bit factoring challenge. The project's first attemp to solve the challenge was through random guesses. For this attemp, volunteers generated 39,033,522 packets (.154885015296E+15 keys checked) for the project. The attempt ended on January 10, 2003. The project's second attempt, Phase 2, would have used a General Number Field Sieve (GNFS) algorithm.
The second challenge was the MD5 project. The MD5 encryption algorithm is widely used in business, secure websites, Unix systems, and the Internet. The challenge would have demonstrated MD5's vulnerability, forcing people who use it to develop a better algorithm. This project began on January 30, 2003, and was stopped on May 20, 2003, due to a lack of interest from the MD5 developers (who were outside of the NEO project). The challenge tested at least 0.53% of the MD5 keyspace.
The third challenge was the Tellurium project, a physics project in which space-time geometry, specifically Isaac Newton's Equivalence Principle (see a simpler explanation), would be tested with the handedness or chirality property of matter. The principle has never been tested this way: if the test had caused it to fail, then Albert Einstein's General Relativity theory would be shown to be subtly incorrect. This challenge began on May 9, 2003, but the alpha client for the challenge was never publicly released.
The fourth challenge was World TSP, a study of the Traveling Salesman Problem. This challenge attempted to find the shortest route which visits all 1,904,711 populated cities and towns on Earth. "The current best lower bound on the length of a tour for the World TSP [was] 7,510,666,782 (Kilometers)." This bound was established on June 18, 2002. The challenge used an evolving artificial intelligence algorithm to attempt to beat that bound. With 97,820 total routes completed, the shortest route discovered was 13,802,932,609 Kilometers.
|Cryptography, Science||July 31, 2003||10 months||~50,000/~50,000|
Operation Project X was a distributed effort to solve the
Xbox Linux Project, a challenge to crack the
2048-bit RSA private encryption key Microsoft uses to sign Xbox media. If
this key was discovered, Linux could be run on the Xbox without modifying
the Xbox hardware. The client used Microsoft's .NET architecture, and was
available for many platforms, including Xbox. Over 351.3 trillion keys
were tested, but the project ended unexpectedly before the key was found.
Listen to an April 26, 2003 CBC Radio interview (in RealAudio format) with some of the project coordinators.
|Cryptography||July 31, 2003||4 months||~4,000/unknown|
|The search for Wieferich prime numbers looked for numbers of the form ap-1 = 1 (mod p2) for a = 2 or 3. The only two known Wieferich primes are 1,093 and 3,511 and there are no other Wieferich primes less than 2 * 1014. The project extended the search limit to 1.25 * 1015, but did not find any new Wieferich primes. 131,429 total ranges (37,424,648,092,395 primes) were checked at an average speed of 621,457 primes per second. 131 near-misses were found.||Mathematics||June 19, 2003||14 months||304/unknown|
|The DIstributed Chess Project tried to create better chess-playing artificial neural networks. The project software implemented a genetic algorithm "to train multi-layer-perceptron neural networks on sets of chess positions with known best continuations (e.g. endgame studies, mate in n moves, white to move and win, ...)." The software was available as a screensaver or command-line client. It allowed the user to "view the status of the evolution any time in terms of computation time, current generation, current best fitness and population diversity" and to "modify the key parameters of the algorithm before a new task starts (e.g. number of generations, population size, number of hidden layers, number of nodes per hidden layer, ...)" if the user wanted to take an active role in shaping its chess-playing neural networks. Volunteers contributed 16 years 57 days of computing time to the project.||Puzzles/Games||April, 2003||10 months||658/unknown|
was a non-profit project sponsored by
NTT Data Corporation, with two
sub-projects: finding disease-causing genes, and finding good materials for
creating optical microprocessors. Note that this site is written completely
in Japanese, but the text translates to English reasonably well in the
babelfish translation. Tetsuya Matsushita wrote an excellent
translation of the major information about the project and
provided screenshots with translations of important information and buttons
on each screen. The project was developed on the
United Devices distributed computing platform. By the end of the
project, 12,000 PCs contributed results to one or both of the sub-projects.
A paper detailing the results of the sub-projects should be available soon.
|Life Sciences||April 30, 2003||4 months||unknown/12,000|
The Triangles project found difference triangles with
the smallest (optimal) span for a given sequence. The project didn't have
a website. The project evolved from a
programming contest, sponsored by Al Zimmerman, which ran from July, 2002
to October 15, 2002. See the
final results of the contest. The project used a modified version of
Jean-Charles Meyrignac's client for the
Minimal Equal Sums of Like Powers
project and a modified version of Stephen Montgomery-Smith's
Dispense Package distributed
Join a discussion group about the project.
|Mathematics||March 7, 2003||4 months||44/unknown|
|Project Dolphin tracked the total number of keystrokes users made during the use of their computers. It was just for fun. It tracked a total of 34,935,065,880 from over 36,000 users (1,000 times more users than the project coordinator originally planned for).||Human||January 17, 2003||1 year||36,000/not applicable|
was a distributed, brute-force attempt to find the secret "backdoor"
password for Tivo's version 3.2
software. This password would allow a Tivo device owner to enable hidden
features in the software. The project ended before a key was found.
You can read the project
post-mortem, download the
code or the last version of the
or see the final
stats page. The project generated about 2.7 billion blocks of keys using
about 85 CPU years.
Version 2 became active around November 8, 2002.
|Cryptography||January 20, 2003||3 months||unknown/unknown|
|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
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
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|
|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|
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
database on September 16, 2002. The database website is available in
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|
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)|
|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)|
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)|
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 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|
|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 searched for a more effective influenza vaccine. The company went out of
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||?/?|