The project aimed to “help farmers use marker assisted breeding to produce better rice strains with higher crop yields, greater disease and pest resistance,” and “provide a full range of bioavailable nutrients thereby benefiting those in regions where hunger and nutrient deficiency”.
By their estimate, it would have taken nearly 200 years for the University of Washington, USA -- which is the home of this research project -- to process this large volume of data using the facilities they had available. In comparison the project took just under two years to accomplish the same via grid computing. In two years, the project processed 29 million results, requiring 26,000 years of computing power. The result is a humongous 7 billion models which the research will have to sift through to find the best ones.
For those not familiar with BOINC and World Community Grid, here is a brief introduction. BOINC or Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing is a grid computing platform which allows anyone to volunteer their computer’s time to help research projects such as the “Nutritious Rice for the World”.
The volunteer would just need to download the BOINC client which will allow them to register and connect with the many projects which need their help. The BOINC client will then automatically download data related to the project and process it on your computer when it is not in use (or according to your instructions). When you work is completed, it will upload the processed data back to the server.
If you too would like to donate some of your computer’s idle time to help such projects, please download the BOINC client from http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ and join the projects you with to contribute to. There are plenty of projects available from finding extra terrestrials with SETI@Home to finding cures for cancer and other diseases.
World community Grid is one of the projects you can align with, and they are still running FightAIDS@Home, Help Conquer Cancer, Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy - Phase 2, Help Fight Childhood Cancer, Human Proteome Folding - Phase 2, and Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together, Phase 2.