Before anyone starts moaning, this is not just another SETI@home pimping thread. However, if you disagree strongly with Distributed Computing in general, now's the time to hit your 'Back' button. You have been forewarned - no rants please. Some of our most popular DC projects seem to be taking a downward turn in participation recently, so it's time to see if anyone new would like to take part. Here's a bit of an introduction to what we 'do'. These are our current most popular distributed computing projects: SETI@home (BOINC) - Astronomy. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Yes, it's still here, but it's undergone a major revamp in the last 9 months. Einstein@home - Astronomy. Help search for pulsars (spinning neutron stars). climateprediction.net - Climateology. Help improve the accuracy of the models used to predict earth climate. Is global warming real, and how bad can it get? folding@home - Medical research. Help understand how 'protein folding' works, and how the process can malfunction (leading to the likes of Alzheimers, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and many others). Predictor@home - Medical research. Alternative project with similar goals to folding@home. Tiny KeyCounter - Just a bit of fun. Not technically a distributed computing project, but fun all the same. We also have teams in the following, which are less popular, or may be winding down or starting up: SETI@home (Classic) - Astronomy. Team OcUK's original project. Now nearing the end of the line, and may be shut down within a few months. LHC@home - Physics/Chemistry. Help determine the operating parameters for the Large Hadron Collider (CERN's next big 'atom smasher'). Currently in testing prior to re-launch. Big Ugly Rendering Project (BURP) - Animation. Intended to become a giant graphics rendering farm. Just starting out. Project Dolphin - more fun. Another TKC-like project. grid.org (UD) - Medical research. Similar to folding/predictor, but run solely for the benefit of the pharmaceutical giants, rather than medical science as a whole. find-a-drug - Medical research. Help search for treatments to Cancer, CJD, HIV, Malaria, and others. Potentially more immediate results than the likes of folding/predictor. If you've found something you like, then you may have a few questions: How do I get started? Best thing to do is to stop by the Distributed Computing forum. Lots of helpful advice and people willing to help with any problems with the main projects (the less popular ones do have less coverage). Will these break my computer? Provided your computer is well built and maintained, you should have no problems. There are no guarantees of course, but I've been running project since 1999, with very little hardware trouble. In fact, the most common time for electronic components to fail is when switched on, which you'll be doing less of, right. Will these cause my computer to slow down? There are too many variables to give a definitive answer to this, so the only reasonable answer is 'maybe'. In the majority of cases with computers built over the last few years, the impact will generally be negligable. What will this do to my electricity bill? Running a computer under load uses slightly more electricity than running at idle, but it's not a huge difference. If you leave your computer on all the time anyway, then you'll probably not notice any difference. You don't have to leave your computer on all the time while participating in a project, but it is recommended. Beware that suggesting turning off hardware is considered a sin in the DC forum (I'll do my pennance later ) I've just covered the basics here, for more detail, visit the Distributed Computing forum. You may also like to know that a forum competition involving some of these projects is being run over the bank holiday weekend. Act quickly! Now, just a final reminder to those who would start complaining about this thread or these projects. Please don't start complaining about this thread or ranting about how pointless you feel a particular project is. If you don't agree with a project, don't participate. It's your choice.