On Nov'18, scientists from Oregon State University begin harnessing the idle time of thousands of personal computers to study climate modeling and the resulting weather effects on the Pacific Northwest and California.
"This project illustrates the power of "citizen scientists," in this case, the thousands of individuals whose PCs will be leveraged during idle times. By lashing together the computing power of these privately owned PCs, OSU team will create a digital network with computational chops of a supercomputer.
The work at OSU will join that already underway in South Africa and the UK. Since the project's inception in 2003, hundreds of thousands of citizen scientists have donated their spare computer processing power to run global climate change models. During idle times, the PCs collect data on regional climate info, including temperature, winds, and humidity, which's then compiled and fed into climate model simulations," explains Dan Fay.
Individuals in the western US who wish to donate their computer's spare processing power are encouraged to visit Weather At Home, where they can register to have the climate model app downloaded. Much like a screensaver, it'll run only when your computer is idle.