I recently found out how to help medical science, mathematics, physics, and even art, while doing absolutely nothing (disclaimer: it may take an initial 5 minutes or less to start helping indefinitely).
Nearly all the time that computer will not be working to the max, and this is what “distributed computing” is all about. You let a university or organisation somewhere use the spare bit of your computer via the internet, and that is it. You install a computer and it runs in the background, just like anti-virus software.
I have installed the protein folding version of these, which is by far the most used. Some very clever people at Stanford send some stuff to my laptop about how proteins “fold” (I don’t really know exactly what that means), it beavers away at working it out and then sends the data back. This then helps with cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as other diseases.
There are many others though, and a list of highlights includes:
- Developing new pharmaceutical drugs
- Malaria control (Linux only I think)
- Climate change research
- Looking for alien life
- Finding prime numbers
- Feeding the world with rice
- Conquering cancer
- Providing clean energy
- Stopping AIDS
There is a full list of all websites (including some that are in alpha and beta) on Wikipedia.
Hopefully this will encourage a couple of people to use this and help the cause 🙂