What can you do at home? Hunt for prime numbers or search for signals from an extraterrestrial civilization

On December 7, 2018, Patrick Laroche's computer found a new prime number. A 35-year-old man is not an outstanding mathematician, he does not have a long academic career, and prime numbers are not even his life's passion. He just had a lot of happiness and some good will. Laroche has connected his computer to one of the projects that use distributed computing to develop data that nobody would be able to cope with.

The dog ate your notebook one too many times and by poor grades in high school you have not become an astrophysicist? The biology teacher has missed your Nobel Prize in this area by asking you to learn Latin muscle names? You always wanted to be a scientist, but somehow it never came out? You can still have your own contribution to learning, just have a computer.

How to help learning without nosing the nose from the home?

Our computers are running faster and better. Even the computing power of smartphones every day tastefully dormant in our pockets or bags would arouse a ruddy blush of jealousy on the face of many scientists from many years ago. We could only dream about what our laptops can do.

Today, in almost every household, such a dream come true somewhere on the desktop, waking up for a bridge online, the next episode of Game of Thrones or browsing the pages of the best tourist refrigerators, which are worth taking with you on a picnic. Even by fulfilling these life-giving functions, he uses only a few percent of his computing power. The rest is on vacation.

They want to use this dormant power. Scientists and enthusiasts, first-number seekers and future discoverers of extraterrestrial messages - all of them drool at the thought that your machine could join one of their projects.

To participate in a selected project, it is best to go to its website and read the simple instructions for installing the software you need. It is thanks to him that our equipment will contact the server, retrieve its work assignments from it and send the results of its own calculations. Once he can deal with his portion of material, he will send the result and receive more data for rework for the work. Most programs work on a computer, but their creators will not compromise other hardware, such as a gaming console.

Hunting for the prime number, searching for signals from an extraterrestrial civilization and cooperating with the Large Hadron Collider.

Big hunting for prime numbers.

The most recent first number was found only a few months ago. As part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search project (GIMPS ), it was found by Patrick Laroche, who until recently used the program mainly to carry out load tests of computers. A few months ago, however, he decided to repay the project and look for the first number seriously. He came in the fourth time. His discovery was tested twice on two different computers with different software.

Mersenne's first numbers are written as (2 to n) -1. In this case, the two were raised to the power of 82589933, and the number itself is as much as half a million larger than the previously discovered friend. If you saved it in the standard format in Word, it would take 6,629 pages, so let me cite it.

For his discovery, Laroche got 3 thousand. dollars, but in truth all program participants can exchange proud handshakes. Thanks to the project, we got to know 17 new prime numbers, the first in 1996, the year of the project commencement.

Searching for signals of extraterrestrial civilization.

The spacial queen of distributed projects is SETI @ Home . At the Berkeley university, created in 1999, computers around the world are looking for signals from a foreign civilization. Analyzing the noise recorded by the Arecibo radiotelescope and the Green Bank radiotelescope, they search for pulsating signals and peaks in the electromagnetic spectrum, which would indicate that we are dealing with an artificially created message, not an ordinary understanding of the universe.

So far the seekers of the missing signal have not been lucky, but that does not mean that the project is tripping in place. There are places in the sky that sound promising and the telescope should be directed to increase the chance of making a fantastic discovery.

The need for Seti @ Home was created BOINC , or Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. This software that helped start other projects. So far, initiatives using scattered computations to those that use BOINC and others are often divided.

Big folding of proteins.

Sometimes the proteins are not what they should be. Badly complex can cause various diseases - from Alzheimer's, to Parkinson's, to different types of cancer. Understanding why this is happening and what it causes can help you find a cure. Two projects deal with this mystery.

As part of Folding @ home, computers from volunteers around the world are working on simulating the next steps in the process of protein molecule assembly to discover why it does not always go as it should. At Rosetta @ home, they study the same process, but focus not on individual steps, but on the effect they lead to. On the shape that a protein can take.

Fold @ home project

There is a lot to choose from.

CERN promises that if we help the Large Hadron Collider, we will be able to get to know some of the most intriguing questions about the Universe. Scientists from Stanford University are persuading to study earthquakes, and Oxford climatologists want to know the climate future of the Earth by conducting numerous simulations. In addition, there are commercial solutions and companies that will pay for the opportunity to take advantage of the computing power lying under the roofs of houses.

On the website of each of the projects is very clearly explained how you can participate in it. If you have heard theories that the computing power of naïve PCs is used to design weapons of mass destruction or the best hair system in Trump's tupeciku, choose one that is based on open source code and signed by an institution that inspires your trust.

There is no fear that these programs will eat most of the computing power of the computer, and we will have to live in a world of cuts and lags. The programs do not rush to the processor as they were hungry after an hour-long wedding party mass, but rather gently suck up resources like a bride trapped in a tight corset. Of course, there are also consequences of taking part in the project, even higher electricity consumption and, consequently, bills for it. Whether we want to use our resources in this way depends only on us.

What can you do at home? Hunt for prime numbers or search for signals from an extraterrestrial civilization


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