Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Attn: Hardcore distributed computing people

  1. #1

    Attn: Hardcore distributed computing people

    We have recently been approached by Steven Strauss, a science reporter for the Globe & Mail, Canada's National newspaper, and he is interested in hearing from people who participate in distributed computing projects (not just DF, but in general). He wants to better understand the culture/hobby dynamics, what motivates people to participate (love of science, showing off horsepower, etc).

    He may not be able to read this forum, so if you'd like to provide him with some info on why you do distributed computing, as well as info on how you have teams, races, competitions, and so on, he'd be more than happy to hear from you. Please e-mail Steven directly at
    Howard Feldman

  2. #2
    Stats God in Training Darkness Productions's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    The land of dp!
    He posted here (, but that doesn't mean much of anything....

  3. #3

    my contribution

    I emailed this to him a few moments ago. i figure he wont quote me directly, so i didn't put a lot of detail into it. just conceptual stuff really


    I've heard that you are looking for some information on the culture behind distributed computing. I've decided to lend some information. I've been doing distributed projects for some years now. Some projects as small as 20 people, and others as big as 200,000.

    I started with back in highschool. at the time they were working against a contest put out by RSA labs. A company who's makes the standards for security encryption used by many companies and governments. We were using our combined computing power to "crack" thier security algorythms, by literally guessing every possible password, or "key", to an encrypted file, or "string". after years of working at it, our group of a few hundred thousand people breathed a sigh of relief as RSA labs told us we'd won the contest.

    During the years, i've also helped a number of other groups. i worked with one group of about 20-40 people, factoring large numbers for scientists. the numbers we were factoring were specifically requested by scientists and labratories. Our work was put to immediate use.

    The projects in which i took the most personal pride was the OGR projects. OGR stands for Optimal Golomb Ruler. as the ruler's get longer, the amount of time to confirm one get's MUCH longer. Starting with OGR 22, the project was organized over the internet. I have worked on OGR's 22, 23, 24, and 25 (24 and 25 still are not complete) I take a little more pride in these projects, because thier results can be used in a number of fields, including but not limited to X-ray crystallography and radio astronomy. It's nice to know that my idle computer time is being used in a good way.

    Distributed computing works by deviding a LARGE program, like folding a protien molecule or cracking a strong encryption block, into smaller bits. Those bits are then distributed among thousands, or just dozens, of people over the internet. You work away at your bit, report your findings, then request some more work to do.

    The beauty is in the execution, because the program only works by using idle time in your computer. while you stop to read this, for the 5 minutes it will take, your computer will do nothing, literally. even if you had a file downloading, an mp3 playing, and a CD burning, it's doubtful that your computer would be using much more than 10 percent of your processing power. If you were contributing to a Distributed Computing Project, that other 90 percent would be siphoned off by the program, and put to use.

    If you did something that required more processing power, like starting an application, or running a game, the distributed program would go quietly into the background, awaiting a time when it could return to life. Well written distributed programs like the ones found at and NEVER interfear with your computers normal operation. They only use the idle processing seconds when your computer has nothing better to do.

    I hope this information helps. Please contact me if you have need of any more information

    Sean Brockest

  4. #4
    Administrator Dyyryath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    North Carolina
    I'd be happy to talk to him, but I'm under the impression that he's looking for Canadians in particular to interview.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts