The other night I noticed a new button on my Google toolbar, so I clicked it.
Where did it take me? Well, it turns out Google has entered the distributed computing arena and I was being invited to take part.
For me, this was perfect timing. Only the previous day I'd been chatting to my supervisor and had mentioned to him with regard to my D.Phil project, that Google might be an interested party.
I can't go into details here about what I'm doing - except to say that it'll require an enormous amount of computing power, which even the supercomputers at Oxford are unable to even think about delivering.
Part of my research requires setting up a worldwide number-crunching project. To do that, I need volunteers who wouldn't mind donating their machine's "idle time" in the name of a good cause - mine!
With Google's entry into this kind of thing, all I need to do now is to persuade Google to back my efforts.
I expect the number of potential partners to grow, quite quickly now as grid and distributed computing projects are not only going to be the next big thing, but they'll also deliver massive payoffs from which we'll all, potentially, benefit. For example, see the United Devices Cancer Research project.
However, if Google's not interested, there's also United Devices and, perhaps, others that I don't know about. Please tell me if you know of any others.
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Peet Morris has been a software developer since the 1970s. He is a D.Phil (PhD) student at Oxford University, where he's researching Software Engineering, Computational Linguistics and Computer Science.