GoEngineer: Doing Philanthropy with CPU Time & the World Community Grid

by Ryan Dark

World Community Grid

GoEngineer has invested in a massive infrastructure in order to create world-class on-site training facilities. In addition, a considerable investment has been made in high-end workstation PCs at each of these training sites. These machines are heavily utilized for training during working hours but what happens when the lights go out?  Recent steps have been taken to make sure these machines also have a job overnight and on the weekends. In these off hours, the CPU-time for each machine is donated to the science community of IBM’s World Community Grid.

What is the World Community Grid?

The World Community Grid is a crowdsourcing project that allows anyone to donate the unused CPU-time of a machine (time when a computer is on but not being used) for a scientific project. These projects range in topics and include researching potential cures for Ebola, Zika, Cancer as well as Clean Energy projects. The World Community Grid expressly picks research topics that have the potential of improving the quality of life for all people. A full list of active and completed projects can be found here.

Examples of active and complete World Community Grid research projects

Why would a researcher use World Community Grid?

Donated CPU-time can be used to run calculations such as better trials of protein candidates that can fight a particular disease. By analyzing 300,000 potential candidates a research team can cut down an insurmountable number of candidates to the 50 best possibilities to take forward into real-life laboratory testing. Instead of having the research team spend grant money on purchasing supercomputer time to cut the 300,000 candidates down to 50; they partner with World Community Grid and users donate CPU-time to run these calculations. In this way, research grant money can be stretched further for other needs.

Why is GoEngineer doing this?

Our training machines tend to stay on at all times: day or night and rain or shine. Since the machines are on anyway, we wanted to put all their horsepower to good use. Why let them sit idle, right? Factoring in all of our training locations, there are a lot of machines available to do a lot of good in these endeavors.

Training machines being used by the World Community Grid in their downtime.

How can you participate too?

If you wish to donate your own idle CPU-time to World Community Grid projects you can go to this link and use the “Join” button in the upper right corner of this page.

Join and Login screen for IBM’s World Community Grid

You can follow our team’s progress at the global BOINC Stats website.

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