Ungenutzte Rechenleistung sinnvoll genutztKategorie: Allgemeines
Von: Andreas Prucha
Bei vielen laufen Computer Tag und Nacht. Clients wie BOINC bieten eine Möglichkeit mittels Distributed Computing - also verteiltem Rechnen - überschüssige Rechenleistung sinnvoll zu nutzen, um Krebs, HIV/AIDS und andere Probleme der heutigen Zeit zu lösen.
In diesem Artikel geht es mal ausnahmsweise nicht um Typo3 oder das Web an sich, sondern um eine Möglichkeit das Internet und die eigenen Computer dazu zu nutzen, um Forschungsprojekte zu unterstützen. Eines der Ersten bekannten Forschungsprojekte, die Verteiltes Rechnen nutzten, war SETI@home. Der Erfolg führte dazu, dass weitere Projekte entstanden.
In der Gemeinschaft gegen Krebs und HIV/AIDS
Eines dieser Projekte ist das World Community Grid (WCG). Das WCG ist ein nicht-kommerzielles Projekt mit vorwiegend medizinischer und humanitärer Themensetzung.
Krebs, HIV/AIDS und andere Krankheiten stellen noch immer eine grosse Herausforderung für die an der Forschung beteiligten Wissenschaftler dar. Obwohl in den letzten Jahren und Jahrzehnten einige Fortschritte gemacht wurden, und das HI-Virus beispielsweise über einige Jahrzehnte hinweg im Körper unter Kontrolle gehalten werden kann, ist eine Heilung noch nicht möglich. Die Tendenz von HIV sich laufend im Körper zu verändern führt dazu, dass sich relativ schnell Resistenzen bilden können, die die verwendeten Medikamente unwirksam machen. Es besteht also die Notwendigkeit, laufend neue Medikamente zu entwickeln um das Virus über längere Zeit unter Kontrolle halten zu können.
Bei Krebs besteht zwar - im gegensatz zu HIV/AIDS - zumindest bei Früherkennung eine Chance auf Heilung, bei einer fortgeschrittenen Erkrankung sind die Behandlungsmöglichkeiten und Heliungschancen jedoch beschränkt. Chemotherapeutika wirken auf unterschiedliche Tumor-Arten unterschiedlich gut und stellen noch immer eine starke Belastung für den Körper dar.
Diese Probleme versucht der World Community Grid zu lösen: FightAIDS@Home ist laufend auf der Suche nach neuen Substanzen zur Bekämpfung von HIV, indem am Computer das "Andockverhalten" verschiedener Substanzen simuliert wird; Help Conquer Cancer versucht die Mechanismen hinter der Entstehung von Krebs zu entschlüsseln und Help Fight Childhood Cancer ist auf der Suche nach Medikamenten gegen das Neuroblastom, einem bei Kindern weit verbreiteten Tumor. Dies und weitere sind vom World Community Grid behandelte Themenbereiche, und jeder der den entsprechenden Client herunterlädt und installiert kann dazu beitragen diese Probleme zu lösen.
Die Installation des Clients unter Windows ist äusserst einfach: Auf www.worldcommunitygrid.org auf "Download Now" clicken, und den Anweisungen folgen.
Als erstes wird man nach einem gewünschten Benutzername und Passwort gefragt. Nach deren Eingabe besteht die Möglichkeit jene Themenbereiche zu selektieren (also beispielsweise Krebs, HIV/AIDS, Erneuerbare Energie und Andere), die man mit seiner Rechenleistung unterstützen möchte. Danach erfolgt der Download des BOINC-Clients, der schnell installiert ist. In der Regel sind die Standard-Einstellungen ausreichend. Nach dem Abschluss der Installation ist oft - wie man als Windows-Benutzer ja schon gewohnt ist - ein Neustart des Computers notwendig. Ab diesem Moment nutzt BOINC ungenutzte Rechenleistung, um Krebs, HIV/AIDS und andere Probleme der Menschheit zu lösen. Der Prozess läuft auf niedrigster Priorität, hat also so gut wie keinen Einfluss auf andere Programme. Es wird auch ein Screen-Saver installiert, der die derzeitigen Aufgaben grafisch darstellt.
BOINC unter Linux
Der World Community Grid bietet natürlich auch einen Client unter Linux an. Gerade File-Server sind oft den ganzen Tag unterbeschäftigt. Also was liegt näher, als auch diese am Projekt teilnehmen zu lassen. Allerdings gestaltet sich das BOINC-Shell-Script, das vom WCG zur Verfügung gestellt wird etwas umständlich, insbesondere wenn man BOINC als Daemon laufen lassen möchte. Es bietet sich also an, dieses links liegen zu lassen und statt dessen das BOINC-Paket der Linux-Distribution zu verwenden.
Super-Computer am Schreibtisch
Die Cray 2, ein Vector-Supercomputer aus dem Jahre 1985 hatte eine Rechenleistung von rund 2 GFLOPS (Also Millionen Fliesskommazahlen-Berechnungen in der Sekunde). Heutige Desktop-PCs 825 MIPS (Millionen Instruktionen pro Sekunde). Heutige PCs weisen Rechenkapazitäten von gut 3 bis 6 GFLOPS und mehr auf, sind also weit schneller als Super-Computer vor ein paar Jahrzehnten. Diese Rechenleistung wird im Büro-Alltag nie voll ausgenutzt. Meiner Ansicht macht es Sinn die brach liegende Rechenleistung zur Verfügung zu stellen, um dazu ein bisschen dazu beizutragen, noch immer nicht potentiell tötliche Krankheiten wie Krebs oder HIV/AIDS zu bekämpfen.
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