Your computer isn't using 100% of the CPU all the time, maybe it does when playing chess against it or when zipping/ unzipping large files. As you can see a normal user doesn't use all the time 100% processor power. How can we take profit for that? The answer is just distributed processing.
Think for a moment that when your screensaver goes on, your computer begins to calculate some kind of operations and lots of people installs this screensaver, the computing power joining them all together could be huge.
An example for this is the SETI project (Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence) that consist on a beautiful screensaver that you can download from his website and when it's on, connects to the server and downloads a little file containing data from a radio telescope that is analyzed by this software trying to find logical secuences that means there are intelligence from the outer space. IMHO SETI it's a very nice project, but it's objective is not so interesting as I can expect. A sarcastic web site is STI project.
Distributed Chess, not yet???
An interesting project for sorgonet.com on distributed computing is Distributed Chess, what does it mean? It means to use computing power to evaluate every posible secuence of moves on a chess game with the objective to know who wins if it's played perfectly by both sides (black and white). Lamentably this project doesn't exist may be because all the possible diferent chess games that can be played on a chessboard exceds the number of atoms on the universe. But nowadays, we know that all the positions on a chessboard with 1,2,3,4,5 and some 6 pieces on it are stored on a database with it's evaluation and can be downloaded for free from here at Crafty chess software FTP site on TB directory.
Anyway other board games are solved thanks to big supercomputers and/or distributed computing, games like othelo also called reversi is a popular example. Checkers can be solved today with computers. Why checkers and not chess? Just think that checkers is like a well and chess is like an ocean.
Distributed.net Decoding by brute force.
An interesting Distributed Computing effort is www.distributed.net , this guys created and managed a software to share between multiple computers over internet a little portion of a very big task.
Trying to decrypt a hidden phrase encripted with RC5-64bits algorithm. This is called project "Bobine" RC5.
There's a main server named Bobine this distributed who distribute the work to do (blocks to decode) to the Proxies, and that proxies to the Users, so every User that installs this software, asks for a block to decode to the proxies that sends it to him. When the User have decoded this blocks, it sends the results back to the proxies and them to the main server to be sure that the blocks are checked and to don't reassing that blocks again.
To contribute to the effort, you must go to distributed.net download page and get the client for your Operation System. Almost any OS are listed there.
This client software only is activated when your processor is not working for other tasks, that means your computer will not run slower, and you will not notice it.
Windows clients installation is very easy but if you're using linux and a PC you could get lastest x86/ELF client this file is in .tar.gz format, once downloaded type:
tar -zxvf ../filename.tar.gz
now some files will be extracted, dnetc is the binary (the program) to configure it for the first time:
a menu will be displayed, choose the option where to type your email (that will identify you, and where you'll recieve your password), other options let you change project preferences because there are more that one project that you could participate with this software.
Don't forget to put a line on /etc/rc.d/rc.local to load it at boot time
As an example, put this lines:
if [ -x /usr/local/distributed/dnetc ]; then
echo "Starting Distributed.net Client..."
It says: if dnetc is not already running, then start it in quiet mode (no messages).
To check if the software is running: top (q to quit)
When you see the main menu, select First entry: 1) General Client Options, then enter your email adress where you will recieve your password to edit your information and if you want join a team.
Return to main menu and select second entry: 2) Buffer and Buffer Update options
Then 9) Load-work precedence
And change it to do first RC5 and forget about other projects.
Then Return to main menu and Save settings and Exit.
Once have sent some blocks you recieve your password by email, with this password and a link you'll also recieve by email, your can edit your profile, and join to a TEAM. Joining a team is just for fun and if you found the correct key the price if for you and not for your team.
We'd like to tell you join our team sorgonet.com team number 3085
There you could see how many blocks are you crunching also as the rest of the team.