New App Channels ‘SETI @ Home’ Technology for Android Smartphones!


Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing App for Android Now Available

Do you remember the heyday of ‘SETI @ Home’? The program was very popular just over a decade ago, and it made use of the millions of desktop computers that were not continuously hooked up to the internet via early broadband but sat idle much of the time waiting to chime ‘You’ve Got Mail!’. Now the folks at Berkeley are putting the same core computing principles at work with a project called BOINC.

BOINC stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, and is known for the software that allows unused CPU cycles to be tapped by as many as 50 projects around the world to run analyses or simulations that would otherwise be impossible due to the high cost and constrained supply of supercomputers.

The core BOINC software has been available continuously since 1999, with SETI@Home and Rosetta@Home two of the more famous projects. The big news is that the developers have ported the app to smartphones! Currently the app is for Android devices only, and will only run in the background when your device is plugged in and turned on, and when the battery is at least 95% charged. Versions for iPhone (and maybe even Windows Phone) are likely but not announced.

Here are a few details about the app:

“There are about a billion Android devices right now, and their total computing power exceeds that of the largest conventional supercomputers,” said BOINC creator David Anderson, a research scientist at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. “Mobile devices are the wave of the future in many ways, including the raw computing power they can provide to solve computationally difficult problems.”

Creation of the app was funded by the Max Planck Institute, which runs Einstein@Home; Google Inc.; and the National Science Foundation, which has supported BOINC since 2002. IBM assisted in the design of the user interface and organized beta testing of the app.

“Our main goals are to make it easy for scientists to use BOINC to create volunteer computing projects to further their research, and to make it easier for volunteers to participate,” Anderson said.

You can download the Android app here, and get more info at the BOINC site.

Source: R&D Magazine

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!