[At-Large] A geek's way to give back (off-topic)

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Tue Dec 28 05:20:31 UTC 2010

Hello everyone, I hope this email finds you well during this time of year.

For some, the coming of the new year offers a time to reflect; many make new
years' resolutions and others make contributions to charity

I have a suggestion to make, of a small but worthwhile contribution you can
make that costs no money and very little time. The contribution is in the
form of unused processing and memory power in your computers, which can be
used to contribute to assist research projects intended to enhance human
scientific progress.

Some of you may be already aware of the project known as
"SETI at Home<http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/>",
which has been using the power of hundreds of thousands of under-used PCs in
homes and businesses worldwide to decode radio signals in the search for
Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. What is less known is that the same
distributed processing network used for SETI and other math projects is also
being used to assist research to combat Cancer, AIDS, Malaria, Muscular
Distrophy, Dengue and other diseases. Specifically, I am referring to
the "World
Community Grid <https://secure.worldcommunitygrid.org/index.jsp>", an
IBM-sponsored way for researchers to have access to this distributed
processing system. Among other projects are efforts study climate change
models and find ways to provide clean water.

Getting involved is easy. The open-source client software, called
BOINC, is available
for Windows, Macs and Linux <http://boinc.berkeley.edu/download.php>. After
installing it you attach it to the project(s) of your choice. My own systems
are attached to the WCG as well as "malariacontrol.net" and SETI.

Once connected, as your computer(s) complete the tasks assigned to them you
earn "credits", a point system that acknowledges your contribution.

Almost all projects have a concept of "teams", which is nothing more than
arbitrary groups of individual account holders. Most teams are based around
educational institutions, computer clubs etc. and many participants are
members of a team (though it's not required). For what it's worth, I've
created ICANN teams at SETI, the WCG and malariacontrol.net. Feel free to
join -- membership is not limited to At-Large and there is no moderation
process -- just to see what we can do collectively.

This may not be everyone's idea of community work, and some may even
consider it a form of
because it's so low-effort (once you install and join, there's not much for
you to do except track the progress of your projects). But such activity has
real value to the researchers and ... who knows? You may have a tiny role to
play in solving some of mankind's more complex medical and environmental

I'm more than happy to assist anyone having problems connecting, though
chances are than an audience that is already savvy on issues such of DNS and
IPV6 doesn't need too much hand-holding. Being a volunteer in ICANN policy
making already shows that you have an interest in giving and improving
society through use of the Internet.

This email and this effort have not been submitted to anyone for endorsement
-- and I have no intention on doing so, since it's way out of scope for
ICANN -- but I think it's a good idea for individual effort.

Thanks, and have a good and happy holiday season.

Evan Leibovitch
Co-Chair of ALAC, but speaking on behalf of nobody but myself.

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